(CNSNews.com) - On the day when the final presidential debate will focus on domestic issues, all three major markets lost ground, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending the session barely above the 10,000 level.
After spending much of Wednesday below 10,000, the Dow finished trading at 10,002.33, down 74.85 points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 4.64 points to 1,920.53; and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 8.19 points to end the midweek session at 1,113.65.
Just one day after the price of crude oil retreated from record levels to $52.51 per barrel, concern over U.S. inventories and Hurricane Ivan's lingering impact on production in the Gulf of Mexico sent costs up more than $1 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
As a result, investors downplayed the day's earnings reports, which provided good news for such companies as semiconductor maker Intel, McDonald's, Yahoo! and Dutch chip equipment maker ASML.
However, motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson, Inc., and hotel owner Host Marriott Corp. both lost ground during Wednesday's trading.
"There is so much uncertainty in the market right now, and it is playing itself out as fear: the fear of being overcommitted to stocks," Ken Tower, chief market strategist for Schwab's CyberTrader, told Fox News.
"We've also seen a lot of recent sentiment data that suggests there is a real short-term consensus opinion that the market is headed lower," Tower added. "So there's tremendous uncertainty, and uncertainty and anxiety are the enemies of a bull market."
The latest report on weekly jobless claims will be released tomorrow and is certain to have an impact on Thursday trading.
Overseas markets were mixed in midweek trading. While Japan's Nikkei stock average and Britain's FTSE 100 dipped slightly, France's CAC-40 and German's DAX index ended the session with minimal gains.
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