Stocks Rise on Election Day, Tech at 2010 High
New York (AP) - Major stock indexes rose Tuesday as investors awaited the results of Congressional elections, putting the Dow Jones industrial average near its highest point of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 60 points. The Dow has now traded above its 2010 closing high of 11,205 four times over the past two weeks, but failed to close above that level each time. Eric Thorne, an investment adviser with Bryn Mawr Trust Wealth Management, said many traders have been using the end of the day to take short-term profits.
A Republican gain of at least one house of Congress is most likely already reflected in stock prices. The slide of the dollar, which fell against the euro and the yen, helped push stocks higher on Tuesday as investors bought riskier assets.
Small companies performed especially well. The Russell 2000, the index that tracks the performance of smaller corporations, jumped 2 percent to 712.89. The index is up nearly 14 percent for the year, roughly double the return of the Dow and the broad Standard and Poor's 500 index.
The Dow rose 64.10, or 0.6 percent, to close at 11,188.72. It reached its closing high of 11,205.03 on April 26.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.19, or 0.8 percent, to 1,193.57. The S&P 500, which is more closely watched than the Dow by professional investors, is also still below its 2010 high of 1,217.28, reached on April 23.
The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index reached a new high for the year, as tech titans like Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. all gained more than 1.2 percent for the day. The Nasdaq rose 28.68, or 1.1 percent, to 2,533.52. Its previous high for the year was 2,530.15, which came in late April.
Uncertainty over the size of the Federal Reserve's expected stimulus program due Wednesday has kept the market from ending with either big gains or losses in recent days. Traders are waiting for the Federal Reserve to announce plans to buy bonds to spur spending, a process known as quantitative easing.
The Fed's purchase of Treasurys hurts the value of the dollar, which fell 0.7 percent today against an index of six other currencies. A weaker dollar, in turn, drives the price of gold, oil and other commodities higher. Companies tied to commodities, including Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., ExxonMobil Corp. and Alcoa Inc., rose more than 1 percent.
Broad stock market indexes are up approximately 12 percent since the Fed began hinting that it would begin buying bonds. The size of that rally has some traders anticipating that stock prices will fall after the Fed makes its announcement, regardless of what action it takes.
"What we're most likely seeing is a buy-the-rumor, sell-the-fact trade going on," said Nick Kalivas, an equities analyst at MF Global. "We've had a great earnings season so far, so I'm concerned that we'll get a postelection sell-off from profit-taking."
Bond prices rose slightly as investors anticipate the Fed ramping up purchases of government debt in the coming days. That drove the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note down to 2.59 percent from 2.63 percent late Monday.
Pfizer Inc. shares dipped after its third-quarter revenue fell short of forecasts. The pharmaceutical company did, however, beat profit forecasts for the quarter and raised its full-year outlook.
Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where trading volume came to 913 million shares.