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Why the Dow's Getting an Election Bump

There's a rather big event today that you may have heard about -- and it's pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) to triple-digit gains. Tonight's U.S. presidential election has buoyed stocks across the board regardless of sector, sending the Dow up 170 points, or 1.3%, as of 1:45 pm. As investors forget the uncertainty swirling about the election's outcome and get in on today's bull run, 28 out of 30 Dow stocks are up. Let's see which ones are topping the charts.

Green across the board
All eyes are on the election today, and cautious enthusiasm that the economy will expand in the next presidential term has pushed shares up everywhere. It's not just the Dow, or even American stocks, that have taken off: London's FTSE 100 recorded gains of 0.8%, and Germany's DAX picked up 0.7%. Investors ignored renewed jitters over Greece and the eurozone, sending stocks higher.

Economic hopes have buoyed manufacturing companies today. With manufacturing and industrial activity tied heavily to the performance of the economy, United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) has led all Dow stocks so far, gaining 2.9%. Fellow manufacturers Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) have risen 2% and 2.7%, respectively. October's PMI showed a slight pickup in manufacturing activity, and any surge in 2013's economy would spring new life for this sector.

Perhaps expecting good things for health care, insurance giant UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) has seen shares take off 2% on the day so far. UnitedHealth has plenty to gain (or lose) in the election, particularly with the Affordable Care Act's tenuous fate on the line. Though the Act would provide a boon to the insurance company as millions of currently uninsured Americans are forced to get health care, any watering-down of the law could seriously impact the industry's lofty projections.

Losers? Not today
Only Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) have recorded losses today, and each by only fractions of a percent. Intel had fallen further earlier today on news that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is considering switching its iMac chips away from traditional Intel semiconductors, which would deal Intel a major blow. AT&T, meanwhile, is still dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Sandy after the storm crippled portions of its cellular network.

Today's surge has certainly been a boon for investors, but it's what happens to the markets after the election that should have you planning ahead. With the eurozone crisis still raging and the fiscal cliff set to hit in early 2013, investors can't be blinded by today's pre-election rally.

Get in the know
Will the economy bounce back after the election? One stock heavily tied to that outcome should have your attention. Caterpillar is the market share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. Read all about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in our brand-new report. Just click here to access it now.

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