Stocks climb on Wall Street amid wait for presidential winner

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Trader Frederick Reimer works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Trading was light on Tuesday compared with Election Days in 2008 and 2004.   FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Trader Frederick Reimer works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Trading was light on Tuesday compared with Election Days in 2008 and 2004.

NEW YORK — Major stock market indexes climbed Tuesday as investors waited for the finish of a closely fought U.S. presidential election.

“We’re on pins and needles,” said Phil Orlando, the chief equity strategist at Federated Investors, a money management firm. Orlando, who backs Republican Mitt Romney, said he thought the stock market’s gains reflected optimism that Romney could win.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 133.24 points to close at 13,245.68.

Companies that investors believe would benefit under a potential Romney administration surged ahead. They included United Technologies and Boeing, which do substantial business with the Defense Department.

Four financial companies – Travelers, American Express, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America – ranked among the 10 biggest gainers in the 30-stock Dow average.

Other investors say they simply want the election behind them. That will allow Wall Street and Congress to shift their attention to the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of tax increases and government spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 11.13 points to 1,428.39, while the Nasdaq composite index gained 12.27 points to 3,011.93.

The price of crude oil jumped $3 to $88.71 in New York as reports suggested that Superstorm Sandy caused a drop in gasoline supplies. That also helped lift stocks in petroleum refiners. Tesoro Corp and Phillips 66 each rose 5 percent.

In the market for government bonds, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.75 percent. That’s up from 1.68 percent late Monday.

Even with the surge Tuesday, it remained a quieter Election Day for the stock market than last time.

During the financial meltdown four years ago, big swings in the market became commonplace. On Nov. 4, 2008, the Dow shot up 305 points, easily the biggest Election Day rally of all time. Investors expected a victory for Barack Obama.

On Election Day 2004, the prospect of a close election led to a late sell-off, and the Dow finished down 18 points, snapping a five-day winning streak. John Kerry didn’t concede to George W. Bush until the next day.

Among other stocks making big moves Tuesday, weight-loss company Medifast rose $2.29 to $29.11 after reporting that its quarterly earnings increased more than 40 percent as expenses fell.

• Express Scripts sank $7.73 to $55.15. The pharmacy benefits manager warned that persistently high unemployment and economic uncertainty would hurt its business next year.

• NYSE Euronext fell $1.34 to $24.27. The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange reported Tuesday that its quarterly earnings fell by nearly half. A drop in the number of transactions it handles pulled down revenue.


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