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Wall Street slides for ninth straight day

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NEW YORK - The stock market tried to break its losing streak on Friday, but just couldn’t pull it off -- even with the help of a strong jobs report for October. Instead, Wall Street declined for a ninth straight day. That’s the longest consecutive daily slide since 1980.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day down 42 points, or 0.2 percent, 17,888. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 3.5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,085, and the Nasdaq composite shed 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,046.

Markets continue to focus on the U.S. presidential election.

And the uncertain outcome of Election Day is too great for investors to feel comfortable making bets that anything good will happen. With five days left until the election, Hillary Clinton is still leading in national polling, but Donald Trump appears to have narrowed the gap, particularly in swing states.

Investors like certainty, and Clinton is seen as likely to maintain the status quo. Trump’s policies are less clear, and the uncertainty has caused jitters in financial markets.

Wall Street’s proxy for Trump’s chances at winning, the Mexican peso, has been stable most of the day at 19.24 to the dollar.

“No one really knows what Trump would do should he get into power, probably not even himself,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG. “It is that uncertainty that is driving the market negativity that has dominated this week.”

Investors found some solace in data that showed U.S. employers added a decent 161,000 jobs in October and raised pay sharply for many workers. The Labor Department’s monthly employment report Friday sketched a picture of a resilient job market.

The pace of hiring has been consistent with a decent economy. The unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5 percent. And average hourly pay took a big step up, rising 10 cents an hour to an average of $25.92. That is 2.8 percent higher than a year ago and is the sharpest 12-month rise in seven years.

“This is really good for the U.S. consumer, especially as we head into the critical holiday shopping season,” Michael Scanlon, a portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

With the election coming up in less than a week, the October jobs report is likely to give the Federal Reserve enough ammunition to raise interest rates at its December meeting, economists said. The Fed ended a two-day meeting on Wednesday where they decided to hold rates steady.

“It seems that the only remaining obstacle to the Fed hiking in December would be a significant adverse financial market reaction to the U.S. presidential election,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in an email.

GoPro, the maker of wearable cameras, closed down 78 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $11.16. The company reported a 40 percent drop in revenue in the quarter, and gave a negative outlook for the holiday season. Like Fitbit, GoPro is showing signs of being unable to expand its product line beyond athletes and thrill-seekers. 

Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 49 cents to $44.17 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, declined 88 cents to $45.43 a barrel in London.

U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.78 percent from 1.81 percent the day before. The euro rose to $1.1119 from $1.1109 and the dollar rose to 103.07 yen from 102.99 yen.

Gold rose $2.70 to $1,306 an ounce, silver fell 5 cents to $18.37 an ounce and copper rose 2 cents to $2.27 a pound.

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