US stocks broadly higher as investors await election results

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in late-afternoon trading Tuesday, on course to build on big gains from the day before. Utilities and phone companies were among the biggest gainers. Investors kept a close eye on the tight U.S. presidential race as voters headed to the polls. Oil prices were drifting higher after an early slide.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 92 points, or 0.5 percent, to 18,352 as of 3:45 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,142. The Nasdaq composite index added 33 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,199. The stock market had its biggest gain since March on Monday, when it snapped a nine-day losing streak.

GENERAL ELECTION: Hillary Clinton entered Election Day with multiple paths to victory, while rival Donald Trump must prevail in most of the battleground states to reach 270 Electoral College votes. Control of the Senate was also at stake. The market soared on Monday as Clinton’s chances for winning the presidency appeared to improve. Investors like certainty, and Clinton has been seen by the market as likely to maintain the status quo. Trump’s policies are less clear, and the uncertainty and uncomfortable closeness of the polls has caused jitters in financial markets.

THE QUOTE: “The market has been looking for the status quo result, and the polling in the last couple of days shows that result is a good likelihood,” said Mike Baele, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank. “That’s the reason why the market is bouncing here.”

TRAVEL HAPPY: Priceline Group climbed 6.7 percent after the online travel booking company reported quarterly earnings that easily beat analysts’ forecasts. The stock gained $99.72 to $1,580.05.

MINE THIS: Investors bid up shares in mining company Freeport-McMoRan. The stock rose 83 cents, or 7.4 percent, to $12.12.

STRONG RESULTS: Marriott International gained 2.8 percent after the hotel chain posted a big increase in earnings and revenue for the most recent quarter. The stock added $1.99 to $73.09.

STILL SEAWORTHY: SeaWorld Entertainment rose 7.9 percent after the embattled parks operator said it has been able to stem falling attendance after a bruising fight with animal rights activists that led to the closure of its orca breeding program. The stock gained $1.13 to $15.38.

BUMPY RIDE: Hertz plunged 25.9 percent after the car rental company’s latest quarterly earnings came up far short of what analysts anticipated. The stock slid $9.24 to $26.50.

DASHED EXPECTATIONS: CVS Health tumbled 11.9 percent after the drugstore chain and pharmacy benefits manager’s third-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The company also trimmed its outlook. The stock shed $9.92 to $73.47.

BAD MEDICINE: Depomed sank 18.5 percent after the drugmaker reported lower-than-anticipated quarterly earnings. The stock dropped $4.24 to $18.65.

ROUGH QUARTER: Valeant Pharmaceuticals International slumped 22.4 percent after the Canadian drugmaker reported a third-quarter loss. The company also slashed its guidance as it continues to face scrutiny over its business practices. The stock lost $4.28 to $14.85.

GLOBAL TRADE: China’s exports fell again in October in a fresh sign of weak global demand that is complicating Beijing’s efforts to shore up economic growth and reduce reliance on trade and investment. Exports contracted by 7.3 percent from a year earlier while imports fell 1.4 percent. Similarly downbeat figures emerged from Germany, where exports dropped 0.7 percent in September over August, while imports fell 0.5 percent in season- and calendar-adjusted terms.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC-40 gained 0.4 percent. London’s FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent. Earlier in Asia, stock indexes closed mostly higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent, while Seoul’s Kospi added 0.3 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was little changed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 9 cents to close at $44.98 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 11 cents to close at $46.04 a barrel in London. Other energy futures were also mixed. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.37 a gallon. Heating oil also held steady at $1.44 a gallon. Natural gas fell 18 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $2.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.

MEALS: The price of gold slid $4.90 to $1,274.50 an ounce, while silver gained 21 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $18.36 an ounce. Copper added 7 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $2.38 a pound.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.87 percent from 1.83 percent late Monday. In currency markets, the dollar rose to 105.05 yen from 104.58 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1016 from $1.1040. The Mexican peso, which has become an indirect proxy among investors for Trump’s chances to win the White House, rose against the dollar. The U.S. currency fell to 18.42 Mexican pesos from 18.68 pesos.

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