Wall St. soars as FBI clears Clinton ahead of Election Day

November 7th, 2016  |  Source: Reuters

U.S. stocks marched higher on Monday, a day before the U.S. presidential election as Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton's prospects brightened after the FBI said it would not press criminal charges related to her use of a private email server.

The gains were broad based, with all 30 Dow components and all 11 major S&P 500 sectors rising. Global markets also rose, while a volatility measure for U.S. stocks was set for its biggest one-day percentage drop since late June.

U.S.-listed iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW.P), known recently as the "Trump ETF", rose 4.7 percent and was on track for its best day in more than five years. The ETF is viewed as a barometer for Republican Donald Trump's chances of winning the election since his policies are considered negative for Mexico.

Wall Street closed lower for nine days in a row through Friday, their longest losing streak in more than 35 years and one that gained momentum after the FBI said on Oct. 28 that it was reviewing some newly found Clinton emails.

The FBI said on Sunday that it stood by its July finding that Clinton was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing.

At least five major polls on Monday showed Clinton had the lead over Trump in the race for the White House, with one showing Clinton enjoying a six percentage-points advantage.

"We're up almost half of what we've lost since then (Oct. 28). So it clearly shows the market prefers a Clinton victory and also improves her likelihood of eventually winning the election and the markets are reacting as a result," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

Investors have tended to see Clinton as a more status quo candidate and expect her victory to clear the path for a U.S. interest rate hike next month. On the other hand, Trump's stance on foreign policy, trade and immigration has unnerved the market.

"As long as the Democrats do not sweep all three houses, it will likely remain a gridlock with no drastic movement in policy and the markets historically tend to do better in that scenario," Frederick said.

The CBOE Volatility index .VIX, dubbed Wall Street's "fear gauge", was down 16.9 percent, on pace for its biggest one-day fall since June 28, a few days after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

At 10:47 a.m. ET (1447 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 276.54 points, or 1.55 percent, at 18,164.82.

The S&P 500 .SPX was up 36.37 points, or 1.74 percent, at 2,121.55 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 98.82 points, or 1.96 percent, at 5,145.19.

The financials' .SPSY 2.2 percent rise lead the gainers among the 11 S&P sectors, while the defensive utilities sector .SPLRCU brought up the rear with a 0.18 percent increase.

Risk assets were back in favor, with Brent crude futures rising for the first time in seven days, also helped by OPEC's commitment to stick to a deal to cut output.

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