Dow Heads Higher Amid Election

As voters flock to the polls, the markets have taken it upon themselves to head higher. Roughly halfway through the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is up by 83 points, or 0.63%.

What's driving the Dow today
With an election that's too close to call, many are speculating that the outcome will send stocks higher by reducing uncertainty in the market. According to Michael Farr, the president of investment manager Farr, Miller and Washington, who was quoted in The Wall Street Journal: "I think that you see a surge no matter who gets elected. Markets will likely go up because there's been so much uncertainty, any clear direction is probably good."

That said, advice like this should probably be taken with a grain of salt. As my colleague Morgan Housel pointed out, there's little discernible correlation between elections and stock performance. "People hate to think of the economy as that unpredictable," Morgan says, "but it's the reality." He then goes on to note that "the odds are quite good that the most important business stories of the next five or 10 years will have nothing to do with who wins the election."

In terms of individual stocks, the biggest winners today are Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) , both up more than 2%. The former's bottom line has been plagued by slow personal computer sales, making it the worst-performing stock on the Dow this year, down nearly 45%. Now that Windows 8 is out, however, some are expecting this trend to reverse itself.

Among the biggest losers, alternatively, are telecom giants AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) . Both companies have been reeling since Hurricane Sandy crippled vast swaths of their cellular networks. At one point, it was estimated that a full 25% of Verizon's towers in the affected area were compromised in one way or another. The pullback may be seen as a bonus to dividend investors looking for good entry points given the companies' generous dividends of 5% and 4.6%, respectively.

The Foolish bottom line
Regardless of who wins the election today, there are a handful of stocks that are bound to benefit either way. To learn the identities of a handful that could skyrocket after the votes are counted, simply click here now.


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