US stocks sink as FBI reopens Clinton email probe
NEW YORK — Wall Street stocks dove Friday after news that the FBI had reopened a probe into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails, giving a possible boost to rival Donald Trump’s campaign.
US stocks had been comfortably in positive territory prior to news that Federal Bureau of Investigation head James Comey informed lawmakers that he was restarting the probe.
Comey in June sharply criticized Clinton’s handling of classified information as secretary of state on a private email server, but did not recommend charges be brought against her.
Major stock indices lost around one percentage point on the news. Near 1750 GMT (1:50 a.m. Saturday, Philippine time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 18,104.10, down 0.4 percent, retreating from an intra-session peak of 18,257.06 shortly before the news broke.
The broad-based S&P 500 was down 0.5 percent to 2,121.65, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite Index lost 0.5 percent to 5,190.73.
“This is really spectacular,” said Chris Low at FTN Financial. “The market reaction is essentially a reflection of the possibility that Trump is going to win.”
Wall Street has been watching the 2016 presidential election cautiously, welcoming polls that have shown Clinton with a clear edge over Republican candidate Trump.
Clinton is considered the more market-friendly outcome, expected to maintain the policies of outgoing President Barack Obama.
The market views Trump as a great unknown, because of his penchant for controversy, his lack of a record in public office and his harsh criticism of key leading trading partners such as China and figures such as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
The new probe clearly raised market worries of a Trump victory. The closely-watched VIX volatility index, the so-called fear index, shot up 16 percent to 16.9 on the news.
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