Stocks held lower by midday Monday as Wall Street’s attention shifted to the looming presidential debate from central bank policy.
The S&P 500 was down 0.7%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.65%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.8%.
The first presidential debate will likely add some volatility on Monday as traders worried over what regulations and economic policies the two candidates might push. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will join Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Hampstead, N.Y., for the debate hosted by ABC’s Lester Holt. The presidential debate is the first of three scheduled before voters head to the polls on Nov. 8.
“There are two political footballs to keep your eyes on: health care and energy,” Stephen Guilfoyle, chief market economist at Stuart Frankel & Co., wrote in a note. “Depending on who appears to come out on top tonight could provide direction to these two sectors. Energy is a regulation play, while health care becomes about the perceived success or failure of Obamacare. These two candidates have very different ideas on these two areas, and an upper hand on Tuesday morning for either candidate could provide movement.”
The health care sector was the worst performer on markets Monday. The industry’s largest players including Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) , Merck (MRK) , Amgen (AMGN) , Gilead Sciences (GILD) and AbbVie (ABBV) were all lower, while the Health Care SPDR ETF (XLV) slid 1.1%.