US stocks surge as voters head to polls
New York (AFP) - US stock markets reversed an early fall Tuesday and surged sharply higher as voters headed to polls to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for their next president.
Adding to Monday's 2 percent gains, which came as Democrat Clinton's chances for a victory appeared to improve, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.7 percent in early afternoon trade.
What caused the sharp mid-morning reversal was unclear; the markets swung almost one percentage point in a short period and the closely-watched Vix volatility index, a signal of market nervousness, fell sharply at the same time.
The move came at about the same time a new polling group, Votecastr, released an analysis of early voting in key swing state Florida that showed Clinton ahead of Trump.
Votecastr's analyses are not based on actual voting but extrapolations of observed turnout in Tuesday's voting compared with actual turnout and vote data from previous elections.
But Michael James of Wedbush Securities said there was no single catalyst for the surge higher; it was a continuation of Monday's momentum.
"Yesterday was probably the best single day we've had in six months. Buyers were poised to buy at any pull-back and that is exactly what happened."
Markets have shown a clear preference for Clinton, given Trump's promises to shake up US economic policy and his controversial foreign policy statements. Clinton's prospects for a win gained after the weekend statement by FBI director James Comey that cleared Clinton of wrongdoing over a long investigation into her private email server.
At 1 pm (1800 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 18,393.62, up 0.7 percent.
The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.7 percent to 2,146.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.9 percent to 5,213.59.
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