US election a source of anxiety for markets
Jitters regarding the upcoming US presidential election kept investors nervous.
The Dow closed 0.2% lower and the S&P500 dropped 0.4%, declining for the eighth consecutive session.
Australia's trade deficit narrowed for the third consecutive month to $1.2bn in September, which was the smallest deficit since December 2014.
The improvement in recent months largely reflects the rebound in commodity prices which has boosted the value of exports - exports rose 1.6% in September.
The AiG performance of services Index jumped to 50.5 in October. This reading indicates a return to expansion after two months of contraction (below 50) in August and September.
US treasuries were very little changed, ahead of the key non-farm payrolls report tonight.
The US dollar index was marginally lower, and continues to be weighed down by US election fears.
GBP was the big mover - a neutral stance by the Bank of England was supportive of sterling, but the rebound was also driven by a ruling by the UK high court that the British government needed parliamentary approval to trigger Brexit.
The Australian dollar was marginally higher, and continues to benefit from US dollar weakness.
Oil prices remained under downward pressure as inventories rose and doubts continued on the output cap by OPEC. Gold prices edged higher, also benefiting from US dollar weakness.
The Caixin services PMI rose to 52.4 in October, from 52.0 in September. This is the strongest reading since June, indicating that the Chinese economy may be on steadier footing.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.0% in September, after being revised from 10.1% previously.
The Bank of England (BoE) left monetary policy unchanged as widely expected, and ditched the signal that it would ease monetary policy further.
The significant decline in sterling has resulted in a sharp upgrade in inflation and growth forecasts, and stated that there are limits to the extent to which above-target inflation can be tolerated".
Inflation was expected to jump to 2.7% next year. Nonetheless, the BoE is far from looking at raising rates. It appears rates will likely be on hold over the near-term, although this depends highly on currency moves.
The services PMI edged up from 52.6 in September to 54.5 in October, the highest in nine months.
The services sector continues to expand moderately according to both Markit and ISM measures. The Markit PMI was unrevised at 54.8 in the final estimate for October, but up slightly from the 52.3 reading in September.
Meanwhile, the ISM measure weakened from 57.1 in September to 54.8 in October. Both remain comfortably above 50 signalling expansion.
Factory orders rose 0.3% in September. Taken with earlier data, it points to modest growth over the September quarter.
However, durable goods orders remain weak, and contracted in September. Overall, business spending remains soft over the second half of the year.