Apparently, the market's as happy to see Election Day finally arrive, and the campaign end with it, as your average swing-state voter. Regardless of who wins tonight, investors can take comfort in knowing that the government can get back to work and finally return to focusing on pressing issues facing the country, like the fiscal cliff.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) gained 133 points, or 1%, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 moved up 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively. Though no major economic reports were released today, stocks often rise on Election Day, and major European markets gained nearly 1% in trading as well. Oil and gold also rose strongly.
Turning into individual stocks, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) led all Dow components for the second day in a row, gaining 2.8%. HP got a bounce yesterday after it entered the board of the Linux Foundation, a group overseeing the open-source operating code with the same name. Some observers see it as an attempt to break away from Microsoft and make some headway into developing markets with a cheaper Windows-free offering. Shares of HP have fallen sharply in recent weeks after CEO Meg Whitman said the company may not see revenue growth until 2015, so the surge over the past two days may ultimately prove meaningless.
Industrials also fared well today, as United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) and Boeing (NYSE: BA ) climbed 2.7% and 2.3%, respectively. United jumped on news that it paid back $1 billion, or half, of the debt it took on to finance its Goodrich acquisition ahead of schedule. Boeing, meanwhile, completed an order for 60 737s with Aeromexico, a deal worth more than $6 billion, and also won a $1.4 billion helicopter contract from the Indian military.
Only two Dow stocks fell today, with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) the worst performer, losing 0.5%. The top chipmaker was sliding on news that Apple may dump Intel's chips for Macs and instead use an in-house version of the chip technology in the iPhone and iPad. Apple is contracted with Intel for the next few years, so the move wouldn't have an immediate effect, but it could also signal a transition away from Intel chips that other tech companies might follow.
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