Dow jumps 133 as Americans head to the polls
The blue chips rise thanks to gains for Caterpillar, Boeing and United Technologies. Crude oil tops $88; gold moves over $1,700. Intel rises despite a report Apple may stop using its chips. Chipotle jumps.
As Americans went to the polls today, Wall Street enjoyed a big rally, with the major averages finishing higher for the third time in four days.
The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) finished up more than 130 points and, in two days, made back all of their losses on Friday in a rally built on gains for big energy, industrial and financial stocks.
AT&T (T) and Intel (INTC) were the only Dow stocks not to finish in the black. Intel was hit by a report that Apple (AAPL) is thinking about replacing Intel-made chips in its Macintosh computers.
Oil prices were higher on worries that Superstorm Sandy has cut into domestic supplies of crude oil and refined energy products. The Energy Department will report on U.S. inventories on Wednesday. Gold (-GC) moved above $1,700 for the first time in three days. And the U.S. dollar is holding its own.
The Dow gained 133 points to 13,246. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) gained 11 points to 1,428. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) climbed 12 points to 3,012. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX) was up 8 points to 2,681. Apple, the biggest influence on the index, was off $1.77 to $582.85. The stock is still down 17% from its mid-September closing high of $702.10.
Crude oil (-GC) in New York was at $88.89 a barrel, up $3.24. Brent crude , the benchmark North Sea crude, jumped to $111.08 a barrel, up $3.35.
But the national average price of gasoline fell to $3.463 a gallon, down from $3.47 a gallon on Monday. according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The price is down 9.3% from a near-term high of $3.818 on Oct. 8.
Gold settled up $31.80 to $1,715 an ounce. Commodity prices generally were higher.
The rally came as voters were lining up at polling places around the country to elect a president, members of Congress and a third of the U.S. Senate in what polls suggest will be one of the closest elections in recent years.
The betting site Intrade.com sees the odds of a win for President Barack Obama at 68%, with the odds of a Mitt Romney win at 32%. The Iowa Electronics Markets, which also lets investors speculate on the election outcome, sees similar odds. Both sites see Obama winning a touch less than 51% of the popular vote and Romney winning around 49%.
It's no guarantee that what happens on Election Day will carry through beyond. Bespoke Investment Group says the S&P 500 had positive returns in only two of the last seven days after a presidential election.
But many on Wall Street believe that just getting a result -- whether it's Obama or Romney -- will add some certainty to financial markets.
|Energy prices -- New York close|
|Tues.||Mon.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$88.71||$85.65||2.86%||-10.24%|
|Heating oil (-HO)||$3.0529||$2.9829||-0.31%||4.76%|
|Natural gas (-NG)||$3.6170||$3.5540||-2.03%||21.01%|
|(per mil. BTU)|
|Unleaded gasoline (-RB)||$2.6989||$2.6202||2.61%||1.56%|
|(per gallon; AAA)|
Amazon.com wins one from Apple in Europe
After the close, Amazon.com (AMZN) shares were down slightly at $237.24 after Reuters said European Union regulators are to end an antitrust probe into e-book prices by accepting an offer by Apple and four publishers to ease price restrictions on Amazon.
That decision would hand online retailer Amazon a victory in its attempt to sell e-books cheaper than rivals in the fast-growing market publishers hope will boost revenue and increase customer numbers.
"Faced with years of court battles and uncertainty I can understand why some of these guys decided to fold their cards and take the whipping," said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, an ebook publisher and distributor that works with Apple.
Separately, Apple has told a judge that Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 10.1 device infringes its patents, and sought to add the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system to an existing lawsuit against Samsung in California. It's the first time Apple has sought to add Google's (GOOG) popular smart-phone operating system to a patent case.
Vringo wins and loses
Shares of Vringo (VRNG) fell 38 cents to $3.57 after the mobile-phone software maker said a jury had asked five companies, including Google (GOOG), to pay about $30 million for infringing on its patents.
The shares dropped because Vringo had been looking for compensation of at least $696 million from the companies, financial website iStockAnalyst had previously reported.
The court-appointed jury in Norfolk, Va., upheld the validity of Vringo's patents and asked Google to pay $15.8 million, AOL (AOL) $7.9 million, IAC/InterActive's (ACI) IAC Search & Media $6.6 million and Gannett (GCI) $4.3 million, Vringo said.
Vringo inherited the lawsuit after it acquired Innovate/Protect (I/P), a company that specializes in monetizing intellectual property, in March.
I/P had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against AOL, Google, IAC, Gannett and Target (TGT) in 2011. Target was asked to pay $98,833.
The jury recommend that the court approve a 3.5% royalty rate that companies must pay.
A broad rally
Of the 30 Dow stocks, 28 were higher, along with 429 S&P 500 stocks and 78 Nasdaq-100 stocks. In addition, transportation stocks, especially trucking and railroad shares, were higher. So were chip and bank stocks.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Boeing (BA) and United Technologies (UTX) were the biggest percentage gainers among the Dow stocks. United Technologies, Boeing, Caterpillar (CAT) 3M (MMM) and Chevron (CVX) contributed about 57 points to the Dow's gain.
Computer Sciences (CSC) was the top S&P 500 performer, up $5.34 to $36.80. The company has cut jobs and worked to better manage its contracts, helping boost cash flow. Computer Sciences said today it continues to reshuffle operations.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) added $14.49 to $279.69. The burrito chain criticized by hedge fund manager David Einhorn was raised to "buy" from "neutral" at Bank of America.
Lam Research (LRCX) gained 85 cents to $37.69. The chip-equipment company was raised to "positive" from "neutral" by Susquehanna Financial analyst Mehdi Hosseini. The 12-month share-price estimate is $48.
Express Scripts (ESRX) plunged $7.73 to $55.15 and was the worst S&P 500 performer. A "weak business climate and the unemployment outlook" may lead to a loss of members, depressed drug utilization and “increased client demands and expectations,” Express Scripts said in a statement. Profits for pharmacy benefits managers are tied to clients' drug costs as they act as middlemen among employers, health plans and the drug industry.
DirecTV (DTV) declined 15 cents to $50.51. The largest U.S. satellite-television provider reported third-quarter profit that trailed estimates after Latin American subscriber additions failed to meet analyst projections.
Fossil (FOSL) tumbled $9.86 to $84.24. The maker of the namesake watch brand reported sales that trailed analysts’ estimates.
Zillow (Z) tumbled $6.22 to $28.15 after the real-estate website forecast fourth-quarter revenue below analysts' estimates. The company lost one of its larger advertisers, Foreclosure.com.
Shares of Emerson Electric (EMR) rose 96 cents to $51.46 after the industrial conglomerate posted adjusted earnings that topped Wall Street expectations. The company also said it wants to sell its $1.4 billion embedded computing and power business.
|Short hits from the markets -- New York close|
|Tues.||Mon.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|13-week Treasury bill||0.0900%||0.090%||-18.18%||800.00%|
|5-year Treasury note||0.744%||0.699%||4.06%||-10.36%|
|10-year Treasury note||1.742%||1.684%||3.32%||-6.89%|
|30-year Treasury bond||2.916%||2.871%||2.28%||0.93%|
|U.S. Dollar Index||80.715||80.843||0.91%||0.24%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in pounds||£0.625||£0.626||0.82%||-2.92%|
|Euro in dollars||$1.28||$1.28||-1.10%||-1.06%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in euros||€ 0.780||€ 0.781||1.11%||1.08%|
|U.S. $ in yen||80.52||80.23||0.90%||4.43%|
|U.S. $ in Chinese||6.25||6.24||0.25%||-1.22%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|(in Canadian $)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$88.71||$85.650||2.86%||-10.24%|
"This photo, taken by a voter this morning at the Ward 4, Precinct 37 polling place (1212 South Plymouth Court, Chicago), shows an election judge checking in voters while wearing an Obama hat," a source writes. "Chicago's 4th ward is home to President Barack Obama."
The voter who took the photo says: "Woman in front of me also given an extra ballot."
And the voter adds that she has in the past been an election observer abroad. "I had greater confidence votes mattered [in a foreign election in a transitioning country] than I did about my own vote today," says the voter.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 and Dow continue to hold slim post-FOMC losses while the Nasdaq has returned to its earlier levels. In addition, the Dollar Index remains near its highs just above 81.10.
Today's FOMC statement was not much different from the last directive released on May 1. However, today's statement indicates inflation has been running below the longer-run objective while long-term inflation expectations remain stable.
The Fed will remain in focus for the ... More
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