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Futures rise as voting in midterm election gets underway

Futures rise as voting in midterm election gets underway
© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 7, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

 

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By Amruta Khandekar and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday as voting began in the crucial midterm election that will determine control of Congress, with investors hoping for a political gridlock that could prevent radical policy changes.

All 435 House of Representatives seats and 35 Senate seats are on the ballot. Nonpartisan forecasters and opinion polls suggested a strong chance of Republicans winning a House majority and a tight race for Senate control.

Investors too are expecting a similar outcome as control of even one chamber of Congress by Republicans would put a check to President Joe Biden’s legislative push for more business regulations and help demand spending cuts to curb inflation.

Shares in healthcare, energy and defense sectors could see more volatility in the wake of the election.

“The Republicans are a little bit more friendly towards the traditional oil & gas sector, while the clean energy is somewhat better supported by the Democratic party and the government,” said Willem Sels, global chief investment officer, private banking and wealth management at HSBC.

“Technology also is something people are looking in terms of taxation. But to a large extent, what swings technology is the interest rate outlook.”

A surprise victory for Democrats could raise concerns about tech-sector regulation as well as budget spending that could add to an already-high inflation, according to market participants.

Investors are also awaiting a key inflation reading due on Thursday, which is expected to show easing in consumer prices and provide further clues on whether the Federal Reserve could shift to smaller interest rate hikes.

Traders are currently divided about whether the Fed will raise rates by 50 basis points or 75 basis points at the central bank’s meeting in December, according to CME Fedwatch tool.

“Any form of gridlock over the next couple of years would probably make it very difficult for any corporate tax hikes to be approved, which combined with bets of a slower rate path henceforth may allow for some more buying (of stocks),” Charalampos Pissouros, senior investment analyst at XM, said.

The three major stock indexes have rallied for the last two days, but have sold-off sharply this year, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq down 33% due to worries that aggressive monetary policy tightening could cripple the economy.

At 7:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 96 points, or 0.29%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 11.5 points, or 0.3%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58 points, or 0.53%.

Among stocks, Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) Interactive Software Inc plunged 18% premarket after the videogame publisher lowered its annual sales outlook, while ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc (NASDAQ:LYFT) dropped 18.1% on forecasting current-quarter revenue below Wall Street estimates.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) rose 2.7% after the drugmaker late on Monday reported positive data on its cholesterol drug.

Source: Investing.com

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