HONG KONG - Share prices fell in Europe and Asia on Monday as uncertainty rose following news the FBI has revived an inquiry into U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Investors also were watching for a slew of market-moving data and events this week.
At around 8:10 a.m. Eastern, European shares were lower, with France’s CAC 40 down 0.6 percent to 4,519 and Germany’s DAX slipping 0.2 percent to 10,672. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4 percent to 6,966.
U.S. indexes were poised to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent to 18,113 and the broader S&P 500 futures also rising 0.1 percent, to 2,127.
FBI Director James Comey dropped a bombshell Friday when he said the agency would review new emails that might be connected to the dormant investigation of Clinton’s email practices. In response, the top Senate Democrat, Harry Reid, blasted the director for making the announcement just 11 days before the U.S. election, saying he effectively favored one party over another.
Democrats fear Republican Donald Trump will gain fresh momentum from the discovery as the Nov. 8 vote nears.
“There seems little doubt that a Trump victory would trigger selling in stock markets from current levels,” Ric Spooner of CMC Markets in Sydney said in a commentary. “This has traders nervous as they start the week assimilating fresh news on Hilary Clinton’s email problems,” he said.
While markets continue to assume a Clinton victory, Spooner said they’re wary of pushing stock prices too much higher until they learn more about the investigation and whether it’s having any impact on voter sentiment.
In Japan, industrial output and retail sales were weaker than anticipated, according to figures released Monday. Retail sales were flat in September compared with August but fell nearly 2 percent from a year earlier, reflecting weak household spending. Analysts are divided over whether the latest data might prompt the Bank of Japan to whittle the benchmark policy interest rate, now at minus 0.1 percent, still lower at a meeting Tuesday.
Investors have more earnings and company results to pore over this week. Honda Motor’s (HMC) quarterly profit jumped 39 percent on strong sport-utility vehicle sales in China, the company said Monday after Tokyo trading closed.
On Tuesday, Sony (SNE) is set to announce earnings, and Chinese and U.S. factory activity are also scheduled for release. On Wednesday the Fed will wrap up a two-day monetary policy meeting. Strong third-quarter U.S. economic data released Friday has reinforced the expectation policymakers will raise rates by the end of the year.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1 percent to close at 17,425, and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.6 percent to 2,008. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up its gains to end 0.1 percent lower at 22,935, while the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China fell 0.1 percent to 3,100.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6 percent to 5,318. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore fell, but those in Thailand and Indonesia rose.
U.S. benchmark oil futures extended losses after falling last week to their lowest price this October. Crude slipped 33 cents to $48.37 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.02, or 2.1 percent, to settle at $48.70 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 7 cents to $50.61 a barrel in London.
The dollar strengthened to 104.96 yen from 104.73. The euro dipped to $1.0954 from $1.0986.