U.S. stock market slips thanks to a new FBI probe of Clinton email scandal
Brian Snyder/Reuters
Main page Economics, US Elections 2016

FBI reopened a July's case related to Hillary Clinton's email scandal as they found some new critical evidence that elicited an additional investigation round driving Clinton's campaign into panic.

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey announced on Friday that the previous probe into the scandal around Hillary Clinton misusing her private email server to share and store classified documents during her time as the Secretary of State was to be immediately reopened. Comey said that FBI had found new evidence previously withheld from Clinton's case that surfaced in an unrelated case investigating "illicit" text messages a former Congressman Anthony Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, reports the New York Times.

While investigating Weiner's laptop, FBI found out that his wife Huma Abedin, Clinton's close campaign aide, also used this laptop for communications with Clinton that potentially involved classified information. Therefore, said Comey, FBI decided to reopen the case against Clinton as not all evidence was examined during the previous investigations on the subject. Seems like the fact that the elections day is coming already next week did not stop FBI from placing new charges on the presidential candidate.

"In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation," James Comey wrote in his letter to Congress.

Shortly after FBI's announcement, there was a negative reaction from the stock market, with most U.S. equities closing Friday's trading day lower. All 3 major indices were trading lower by the end of the session, despite generally having a good trading day on Friday. According to CNBC and Reuters, the S&P 500 index (INDEX: US500) lost over 6 points and went as low as 2,119.36. The Dow Jones industrial average index (INDEX: DIJA) closed the day more than 8 points lower reaching 18,161.19 at Friday's trading while Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQ: NDAQ) lost about half a percent settling at 5,190.10.

Investors got extremely worried about such a quick and steep decline in the major stock market indicators. Last week, an analyst Jeffrey Gundblach told CNBC that the S&P 500 falling below the critical 2,130 level would be a concerning sign for the stock market. The index reached the lowest level at 2,119.36 and slightly recovered to 2,126 on Friday, what is well under the level outlined by the analyst. Another reason why the stock market behavior alerted the experts is that the market was in the state of general uplift prior to the FBI announcement thanks to better-than-expected U.S. GDP performance. In addition to that, the U.S. dollar also negatively reacted to the news and was down 0.56% against other major currencies, says Reuters.

"The market has been very sanguine in pricing in a victory for Hillary Clinton. If something happened that threatened that outcome, then that would be hurtful for the market given the uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump's fiscal policy," an analyst Phil Orlando told CNBC.

CNBC said that the November 8 elections were mostly expected to be Clinton's day but this newly discovered evidence might be able to affect that. The political analysts were saying that Clinton's lead over Trump had considerably shrank even before the FBI's Friday announcement, with the latest poll of ABC News and Washington Post revealing that Clinton had a "statistically insignificant 1-point national lead" as of yesterday.

The biggest concern of the stock market as well as the politicians is whether it is possible for FBI to finalize the investigation just within 8 days before the elections as Hillary Clinton having open charges from FBI on the elections day is not exactly the situation one would want to have, said several experts. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump said that his good campaign day on Friday got even better when he received the news.

"They are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton's corruption is on a scale we have never seen before, we must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office. I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made. This investigation is the biggest political scandal since Watergate. It is everybody’s hope that justice at last can be delivered," Trump said.

Several other prominent figures of the Republican party joined Donald Trump in the "celebration".

Clinton's office declined to comment at first while the Campaign Chair John Podesta issued a statement later saying that he found it "extraordinary" that something like this happened just a few days before the elections.

"The Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July," Podesta said in a statement, as reported by CNBC.

Hillary Clinton laughed when asked by a reporter whether the news would undermine her chances for the presidency.

Earlier today, the dollar slightly recovered from the Friday's losses whereas the stock market did not show any signs of recovery in the early pre-market hours on the first trading day after the announcement. It will be clear by the end of today's trading session whether the markets can shake off the influence of Clinton's email scandal or it will be strong enough to weigh down the stock market for the rest of the pre-elections days.

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