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Wall Street rises as investors eye midterm U.S. elections

Wall Street rises as investors eye midterm U.S. elections
© 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 Noel Randewich

(Reuters) – Wall Street climbed on Tuesday during voting in midterm elections that will determine control of the U.S. Congress, with investors betting on a political stalemate that could prevent major policy changes.

It was the third straight day of gains on the U.S. stock market, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average down less than 10% year-to-date.

Helping the blue-chip Dow, shares of drugmaker Amgen Inc (NASDAQ:AMGN) climbed almost 6% to a record high after the company reported positive data related to its cholesterol drug and obesity treatment.

All 435 House of Representative seats and some 35 seats in the Senate are on the ballot, with experts saying there may be days of waiting before it is clear who won certain races. Nonpartisan forecasts and opinion polls suggested a strong chance of Republicans winning a House majority and a tight race for Senate control.

“On balance, financial markets like gridlock. To the extent that change will be slow and evolving, a divided government of course provides that backdrop,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

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

Of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, 10 rose, led by materials, up 1.96%, followed by a 1.08% gain in real estate.

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 U.S. Federal Reserve could soften its campaign of aggressive interest rate hikes.

Traders are 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.

The S&P 500 is up 7% from its October closing low, and it remains down about 20% in 2022 due to worries that the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes could cripple the U.S. economy.

In afternoon trading, the S&P 500 was up 0.58% at 3,828.95 points.

The Nasdaq gained 0.57% to 10,624.87 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.94% at 33,135.62 points.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index jumped 2.3%, driven by a 2.3% rise in Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) Corp.

Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) Interactive Software Inc fell 14% after the videogame publisher lowered its annual sales outlook, while ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc (NASDAQ:LYFT) dropped 21% after forecasting current-quarter revenue below Wall Street estimates.

Across the U.S. stock market, advancing stocks outnumbered falling ones by a 1.6-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new highs and 8 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 75 new highs and 187 new lows.

Source: Investing.com

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