Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stocks Post Surge On Election Day

Investors believing that Wall Street is on the verge of a year-end rally have piled into the market, brushing off more weak economic data and propelling the Dow Jones Industrials up 300 points.

Some analysts said the market was up on relief that the presidential election was about to be over. But others said investors were anticipating a year-end rally and buying to be sure they didn't miss out on its start.

Volume was light, which tends to skew price moves, but analysts nonetheless see more improvement in the market's tone after last month's devastating selling.

The Dow closed up 305 points, up 3 percent, at the 9,625 level, its best close in four weeks. The broader indexes were up more than 3 percent.

Analysts generally do not believe that one candidate will boost the beaten-down market more than the other. In fact, they predict that stocks are headed for a recovery no matter who is elected.

The Commerce Department said factory orders fell 2.5 percent in September from August levels, much worse than the 0.7 percent drop analysts predicted. But investors generally expect data from the past two months to be extremely weak, as credit markets began to seize up in mid-September.

Analysts believe much of the bad news is already factored into stock prices. The stock market has seen a better tone in recent sessions. Last week, the Dow rose 11.3 percent -- its best weekly gain in 34 years. Although many analysts predict the market will see more volatility as it recovers from devastating selling during much of October, many also hope the worst of the losses are behind.

Investors already got a dose of bad news Monday: Manufacturing activity plunged in October, automakers reported terrible October sales figures and construction spending declined in September for the third time in four months.

The Dow moved in a range of just over 130 points, well below October's average daily swing of 594 points. Investors will be focused on the presidential vote and what the winner will do to deal with the nation's biggest financial crisis since the 1930s.

World markets surged higher today as the uncertainty about who will be the next U.S. president neared an end and a leading U.S. investment bank told its clients in Europe to buy stocks after the savaging they have taken in the last few weeks.

European stocks have been aided by a note from Morgan Stanley recommending European investors to buy stocks and has reversed its "full house sell signal" of June 2007 to a "full house buy signal." It had been one of the first major investment banks to look for the stock market exit door last year.

Meanwhile, banks and credit card companies are rushing to resolve debts with consumers on the belief that an Obama adminsitration would reorganize the bankruptcy laws.


Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones

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