The political uncertainty of the presidential race over-shadowed the trend of improving US economic figures. The US economy grew a stronger-than-expected 2.9 per cent in the third quarter, according to Commerce Department data. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of US economic activity, rose more than expected in September, increasing by 0.5 per cent, after a downwardly revised 0.1 per cent drop in August. The September figure – which was driven by motor vehicle spending – represented the fastest rate in three months. Inflation as measured by the PCE index rose by 0.2 per cent. Markets also grappled with the increasing likelihood of a December US interest rate hike, while third-quarter earnings season was considered to have started reasonably well.