As the “coin toss” election meanders its way toward next Tuesday, the markets are grappling with rising uncertainty. The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady at today’s policy meeting but they set the stage for a rate hike in December. At the close the Dow was off 77 points to $17,959. Trading volume on the Dow was lower but for the NASDAQ it was higher as profit taking in hot tech stocks might be happening.
Number two health insurer, Anthem, reported 8% higher revenue and 10% lower profits as shares bounced off a 2 year low. Company CEO Joe “Meatball” Swedish said that if ACA exchange numbers don’t improve in 2017 they will have to “modify their approach to the market in 2018”. Anthem currently provides ACA policies in 14 states.
US WTI crude oil prices dropped about 3% to $45.40 per barrel and have fallen well below the $50 mark after the experts had predicted a price rise into the mid $50’s. The culprit behind today’s decline was a surprise jump in US stockpiles. Output increases by producers, output cuts by refiners and an increase in imports from OPEC helped fuel a US stockpile rise of 14.4 million barrels against an expected gain of 1 million. If OPEC cannot honor recent production limits to be ratified at its upcoming late November meeting, analysts feel we could see more downside to oil prices.
Gold continued to move on election uncertainty rising to over $1,300 before posting a closing price of $1,297 up $9.50 an ounce.