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Industrials, tech lead US stocks higher ahead of elections

Industrials, tech lead US stocks higher ahead of elections

November 7th, 2018 in Business

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose Tuesday as industrial and technology companies recovered some of the big losses they took over the last month. Strong company earnings also contributed to the gains, but stocks stayed calm as traders waited for results from the midterm elections in the U.S.

Industrial and basic materials companies made some of the biggest gains following reports from fertilizer maker Mosaic and granite, limestone, sand and gravel seller Martin Marietta Materials. Bond prices dipped, sending yields higher. Oil prices continued to fall, extending four weeks of losses. British stocks fell as negotiators from the U.K. and European Union as remained deadlocked over the issue of Ireland’s borders.

The midterm elections will determine control of the House of Representatives and Senate, and 36 governorships are being contested along with other state and local positions. The vote could affect U.S. trade, economic and security policies.

Alicia Levine, chief market strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management, said some of the most dramatic reactions to the elections might be seen in the health care sector, as Republicans could make another attempt to eliminate the 2010 Affordable Care Act if they keep control of the House and Senate.

A Democratic House majority might work with the administration to try to reduce drug prices, and would take a more lenient approach on food stamp benefits. That could help big box stores and grocery chains, which get a lot of revenue from those programs.

If Republicans keep control of the House, Levine said, they might index capital gains taxes to inflation, which would effectively cut those taxes. While that could boost the economy, it would also encourage the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates at a faster pace, and investors are already concerned that rates could rise too fast.