Wall St. soars as FBI clears Clinton ahead of election


By Yashaswini Swamynathan

U.S. stocks soared on Monday as U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s prospects got a boost a day ahead of the election after the FBI said it would not press criminal charges related to her use of a private email server.

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 emails Clinton sent using a private server during her tenure as secretary of state.

The FBI said on Sunday that it would not recommend criminal charges against Clinton, standing by its July finding that she was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing.

At least three polls on Monday showed Democrat nominee Clinton was in the lead over Republican Donald Trump.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll showed 47 percent of 1,763 likely U.S. voters backing Clinton and 43 percent supporting Trump. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

“Investors are reacting this morning to moving the email controversy to the sidelines, but still looking at a race that is too close to call, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

“It’s a market that is going to scrape back some losses we’ve seen over the last nine days and shift into stall mode at some point in time.”

At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 243.05 points, or 1.36 percent, at 18,131.33. All 30 Dow components were higher.

The S&P 500 .SPX was up 28.53 points, or 1.37 percent, at 2,113.71. Only four of the benchmark’s components were in the red.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 77.15 points, or 1.53 percent, at 5,123.52.

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.

Global markets rose following the FBI’s announcement. The CBOE Volatility index .VIX, dubbed Wall Street’s “fear gauge”, was down 14.6 percent, on pace for its biggest one-day fall since Sept. 21.

All of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, with the technology index .SPLRCT leading the pack with a 1.6 percent rise. The defensive utilities sector .SPLRCU brought up the rear with a 0.26 percent gain.

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. [O/R]

The dollar rose for the first time in five days, while safe-haven gold was set for its worst day in more than one month.

U.S.-listed iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW.P) rose 3.8 percent. The ETF, known as “Trump ETF”, is viewed as a barometer for Trump’s chances of winning the election since his proposed policies are considered deeply negative for Mexico.

Biogen (BIIB.O) rose 5.1 percent to $291.01 after the drugmaker and Ionis Pharma (IONS.O) announced positive interim trial data on their genetic muscular disorder drug. Ionis shares soared 21.6 percent to $32.90.

Sysco’s (SYY.N) 7.6 percent jump was the biggest on the S&P after the food distributor’s quarterly sales beat analysts’ expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,560 to 206. On the Nasdaq, 2,030 issues rose and 319 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 25 new highs and 15 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)