Markets waver as U.S. shutdown looms

September 30, 2013 by Brad Perriello

Stock markets the world over waver as the U.S. government approaches a possible shutdown today, with the U.S. Senate expected to strip anti-Obamacare provisions from a House spending bill that must then be approved to avoid the shutdown.

Markets waver as U.S. shutdown looms

Investors in markets from Brazil to Beijing blinked today as the U.S. government poised to put itself on shutdown, a move economists fear will send uncertainty surging across the globe.

Markets were down almost universally today, ranging from a 0.8% intra-day decline for Brazil's Bovespa to the Nikkei in Japan closing down 2.1%. In a lone bright spot, the Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.7%, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 1.5%. London's FTSE was down 0.9% as of about 9:50 a.m. Eastern today, with the DAX in Germany down 1.2% and France's CAC 40 down 1.4%. In the U.S., the S&P 500 index slipped 0.8%.

The U.S. Senate is expected to strip a pair of provisions from a House spending bill today, sending it back to the lower chamber for a vote to approve the measure or trigger the 1st government shutdown since 1996. The House added a pair of provisions to the bill it sent to the Senate that would repeal the medical device tax and delay the implementation of Obamacare by a year. Both the White House and Senate majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) immediately vowed to reject the amendments, accusing Republicans of hijacking the the issue to score ideological points.

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The wavering seen so far today could metastasize if House Republicans reject the Senate's spending bill and the federal government stops in its tracks, financial experts fear.

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