Stocks End Higher on Election Day; Dow Up 1%
Stocks finished higher across the board for a second-straight session Tuesday despite continued uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential election.
"We're seeing a rally on really no news," said Matt Cheslock, trader at Virtu Financial. "This election is way too close to call for any investor to put a risk on trade right now and volume is showing that no one really knows what's going on…but we're going to see a rally for at least a week or so based on any finality we get today." (Read More: Behind Election Day Rally—'It's Running on Rumors')
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 18.
All 10 key S&P sectors ended in positive territory, led by energy and industrials.
The election result is expected to be close and both incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have made last minute pushes in crucial swing states. Whoever wins will have to tackle the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff," one of the markets' major concerns at the moment. (Read More: Will Risk Be 'Back On' Once This Week Is Over?)
"If we do get a decision by tomorrow, the immediate focus in this market will turn to how we resolve the 'fiscal cliff,'" said Art Hogan, head of product strategy at Lazard Capital Markets. "[But] we have to be careful over the course of the next couple of weeks if we do not have a decision because that could drag on for a long time and the last thing this market needs is right now with the looming 'fiscal cliff' is no decision."
Since President Obama took office, the Dow is up nearly 60 percent, the S&P 500 is up almost 70 percent, while the Nasdaq is up more than 95 percent.
Among earnings, CVS edged higher after the drug store chain edged past earnings expectations and raised its forecast for the full year, on improving sales at its stores and an increase in pharmacy benefit clients.
Express Scripts tumbled to lead the S&P 500 laggards after the pharmacy benefit manager posted revenue that was short of estimates and said a weak business climate will hurt its 2013 results.
Zillow plunged after the real estate database website handed in a fourth-quarter revenue below estimates and the company lost one of its larger advertisers. At least three brokerages cut their price target on the company.
News Corp is scheduled report after the closing bell.
Meanwhile, NYSE Euronext reported a 21 percent drop in third-quarter revenue, reflecting weaker trading activity in London, France and New York. However, third-quarter earnings per share beat estimates.
So far, nearly 80 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted earnings, with more than 61 percent topping expectations. The figure is roughly in line with the 62 percent quarterly average since 1994 and below the 67 percent average over the past four quarters.
Treasury prices slipped after the government auctioned $32 billion in 3-year notes at a high yield of 0.392 percent and bid-to-cover was 3.41.
European shares ended higher, despite renewed uncertainty in Greece as its two largest unions commenced a two-day strike against austerity measures.
Coming Up This Week:
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, oil inventories, 10-yr note auction, consumer credit, Coach shareholders mtg, Oracle shareholders mtg; Earnings from Macy's, Sodastream, Qualcomm, Activision Blizzard, CBS, Monster Beverage, Whole Foods
THURSDAY: International trade, jobless claims, 30-yr bond auction, Kellogg analyst day, 3M investor mtg, OPEC press conference; Earnings from Dean Foods, Wendy's, Disney, Groupon, Nordstrom, Nvidia, Kayak, Zipcar
FRIDAY: Import/export prices, consumer sentiment, wholesale trade; Earnings from JCPenney
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