European markets are slumping Thursday as investors anxiously await an end to the stalemate in Washington over a new coronavirus emergency aid package.
London's FTSE index was down 1.2% at the midday mark, with the CAC-40 in Paris down 0.5% and the DAX index losing over five points but virtually unchanged percentage-wise.
Earlier Thursday in Asia, Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index ended 0.4% lower, while the S&P/ASX index in Sydney earned 0.6%. Seoul's KOSPI index gained 1.3%, and the TSEC index in Taipei is up 0.8%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.6% and Shanghai's Composite index ended up 0.2%, while Mumbai's Sensex is just over one percent higher in late afternoon trading.
In addition to waiting for a breakthrough in talks between Democrats and Republicans, investors are also bracing themselves for the weekly unemployment report in the U.S. Thursday morning. A private survey by payroll services company ADP released Wednesday showed private employers added just 167,000 jobs in July, far below the 1.2 million jobs predicted by economists.
In commodities trading, gold continues its record-breaking pace, selling at $2,061.60 per ounce, up 0.6%. U.S. crude oil is selling at $41.93 per barrel, down 0.6%, while Brent crude oil is virtually unchanged, selling at $45.15 per barrel.
All three major U.S. indices are trending positively in futures trading ahead of the start of Thursday's trading day on Wall Street.