The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed lower Friday for a ninth straight day, marking its longest losing streak in 36 years, as uncertainty and angst related to Tuesday's tough-to-call presidential election overshadowed a government report showing continued steady job growth.
At the close, the index was down 3.48 points, or 0.2%, to 2085.18. The last time it fell nine straight days was in December 1980, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, when Republican Ronald Reagan was celebrating his presidential election win over Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.39 points, or 0.2%, to 17,888.28. The Nasdaq composite declined 12.04 points, 0.2%, to 5046.37.
If stocks fall Monday, it would mark a 10th day of losses for the S&P 500, a streak last seen in the summer of 1975, according to Silverblatt. If election angst drags on beyond Election Day the S&P 500 will be in danger of eclipsing its longest losing streak of all time: a 12-day swoon back in April 1966 -- or 50 years ago.
Stocks have been dragged down amid signs the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is narrowing, which is creating major uncertainty and making investors jittery. Wall Street had been pricing in a Clinton win, but as polls have narrowed following Clinton's lastest email scandal, investors have opted to hedge against the possibility of a Trump surprise win.
Still the market's nine-day swoon has only added up to a loss of 3.07%, which is modest, notes Silverblatt, noting that the S&PP 500 has lost more than that amount on a single day 298 times.
JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade, says the stock market's recent jitters is mostly election-related.
"Volatility has returned to the market," Kinahan told USA TODAY. "People have woken up to the fact that this election can go either way. The market is starting to tell us that the race for the White House has tightened."