LONDON (Reuters) - Global share prices retreated to their lowest levels since early July on Friday after two weeks of losses driven by uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and, latterly, Britain's path out of the European Union.
A London High Court ruling on Thursday dealt a big blow to Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to launch formal Brexit talks next March, prompting speculation of an early national election and sending sterling spinning higher.
The pound was up another 0.1 percent in early trade on Friday. London's share indices were down across the board, with the blue chip FTSE100 Europe's worst performer with a 1.4 percent loss.
The dollar has meanwhile been hammered by a surge in opinion polls in the past week for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Investors believe this may prevent the U.S. Federal Reserve from raising interest rates next month.
Broader jitters about the shape of global trade and growth should a Trump presidency ensue have also contributed to sending shares down across the globe, and the major markets in Europe and Asia were all again in retreat on Friday.
MSCI's global share index slipped just under half a percent to its lowest since July 11. It is down almost 5 percent over the past two weeks.
"With only a few days left until Americans go to the polls many traders are continuing to reduce their risk exposure," said Markus Huber, a trader with brokers City of London Markets.
Stock markets in Germany, Spain, France and Italy all fell around 1 percent. U.S. stock markets were set to open flat, according to initial futures pricing.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4 percent after brushing its lowest levels since early August. It was on course for a loss of 1.7 percent for the week.
The latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showed Democrat Hillary Clinton, seen as the status quo candidate by markets, maintaining a narrow lead over Trump.
But several swing states that the Republican challenger must win have shifted from favouring Clinton to toss-ups, offering Trump a possible route to victory.
"Even if opinion polls show that Clinton is maintaining a lead, anything can happen at the last minute, something the Brexit (referendum) outcome taught us," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
In his campaign Trump, a political novice, has vowed to clamp down on immigration, rethink trade relations and slap high tariffs on imported goods.
U.S. stocks sagged on Thursday, with the S&P 500 suffering its eighth day of losses, its longest streak since the 2008 financial crisis. A slump in Facebook shares also sapped investor confidence.
The dollar clawed back some lost ground against the yen in Europe on Friday, rising 0.2 percent to 103.19, but was still on course for a 1.5 percent loss for the week.
The euro edged down 0.1 percent to $1.1097, up about 1 percent for the week.
Attention will move at least briefly to the monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls report later on Friday, the addition of 175,000 jobs by employers in October expected to lay the economic ground for a Fed rate rise next month.
Oil prices were flat after falling more than 1 percent on Thursday as investors reacted to a record weekly surge in U.S. crude inventories and remained sceptical that OPEC would actually implement its planned curbs on output.
U.S. crude and Brent crude traded at $44.66 $46.26 per barrel respectively.
(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)