NEW YORK—On the day before the US presidential election, stock indexes managed slight gains in thin trading. After wavering between small gains and losses, the Dow Jones industrial average ended with a gain of 19.28 points to start the week, closing at 13,112.44 yesterday.
Uncertainty surrounding the election will prevent most investors from making any big moves before it’s over, said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at the brokerage Charles Schwab. National polls show President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney locked in a tight race. The two candidates are spending the final days of the campaign holding rallies in Ohio and other states considered crucial to winning the White House.
“I honestly think the markets are going to sit here and mark time,” Frederick said. “The markets have a tendency to trade sideways before big news events, and nothing is bigger than a presidential election.” Frederick said he believes that no matter who wins, the stock market will likely surge once it’s over for the sole reason that investors will know the name of the next president.
But that’s assuming there’s a winner by tomorrow. If the election comes down to a thin margin in a swing state, the outcome could be delayed for days. In other trading yesterday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.06 points to 1,417.26, while the Nasdaq composite index climbed 17 points to 2,999.66. Just 2.9 billion shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, well below the recent average.
In the market for US government debt, the yield on the ten-year Treasury note fell to 1.68 per cent, down from 1.72 per cent late Friday. In Europe, renewed focus on Greece’s economic problems combined with uncertainty over the US election to push markets lower. Germany’s benchmark index, the DAX, dropped 0.5 per cent, and the CAC-40 in France fell 1.3 per cent. (AP)