There were more declines on US markets overnight, with the Dow and S&P500 suffering their fourth consecutive losing session over the latest budget standoff in Washington.
Concerns shifted from the Fed to political posturing in Congress, after members of the Republican Party signalled their opposition to raising the debt ceiling later this year.
A failure to raise the debt ceiling has investors fearing a re-run of 2011 when Standard and Poors downgraded the US’ AAA credit rating and sent financial markets into a tailspin.
A fall in US consumer confidence further dampened the mood on markets, fuelling worries the Fed is being too hasty in tapering stimulus before the end of the year.
The Dow accelerated its declines towards the end of trading, closing 66 points (-0.4%) lower, at 15335. The S&P500 slipped five points (-0.3%) to 1697 whilst the Nasdaq rose three points to 3768.
There was little cheer for the major commodities, with oil slumping for a fourth consecutive session on the back of equity market losses and a fall in US consumer confidence.
Front month crude futures dropped 0.4% to US$103.13 a barrel.
Gold also weakened but managed to climb off the session’s lows amid uncertainty over the US budget and the looming debt ceiling fight in Washington. Bullion fell 0.8% to US$1316 an ounce.
In currency market action, the euro eased slightly after data revealed a weaker-than-expected rise German business confidence in September.
There is no major economic data due out today.