Stocks fall as investors wait on Washington

The slow bleed got a bit worse as fights over the nation’s debt limit and the US government shutdown dragged on. Moderate stock losses in the first days of the shutdown have accelerated as the US moves closer to an Oct. 17 deadline to raise its borrowing limit. Tuesday’s loss added to a three-week decline that has knocked the S&P 500 down 4% from its record high, set Sept. 18. The index fell 1.2% in the biggest one-day drop since Aug. 20. Telecoms led the declines. Investors also dumped short-term US debt, worried the standoff could jeopardize the government’s ability to pay bills, including interest on debt. The VIX volatility index rose to a 2013 high.