US stocks climbed, with the biggest tech companies among the best performers, in relatively light volume as the US midterm elections got underway.
The Nasdaq was the best performing major US gauge, with Apple, Amazon and Microsoft leading the way. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid a second day. Oil traded near the lowest level in seven months as concerns over a supply crunch eased. Investors watched for developments on trade as China’s vice president said Beijing remained ready to discuss a deal with Washington.
Government bonds in Europe and the US were mixed, but mostly little changed. The euro recovered from disappointing manufacturing data to gain, while the pound strengthened despite no apparent progress on Brexit negotiations. The dollar fell for a second day.
Caution prevailed in markets Tuesday, with few standout moves as investors braced for any fallout from the vote, particularly congressional races seen as a referendum on the policies of President Donald Trump.
Democrats are expected to take control of the House of Representatives but fall short in the Senate. Meanwhile, investors have one eye on the UK, where Theresa May is redoubling efforts to reach a Brexit deal.
“All eyes are on the US midterm elections today, which have resulted in a slight risk-friendly bias to markets, but a dearth of activity,” said Kit Juckes, a London-based global fixed-income strategist at Societe Generale SA. Expectations for policy gridlock are “the corner-stone of what feels like a consensual view that growth will slow,” he wrote in a note.
Elsewhere, equities climbed in Japan, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong, but underperformed in China.
WTI oil fluctuated between small gains and losses.
On Tuesday, US mid-term elections will determine whether Republicans keep control of Congress, and set the stage for Trump’s 2020 re-election bid Federal Reserve policy makers are expected to leave the main interest rate unchanged on Thursday at their penultimate gathering of 2018.
The S&P 500 Index rose 0.5 percent in New York; the Nasdaq Composite added 0.9 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dipped 0.1 percent. The MSCI Emerging Market Index rose 0.2 percent.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.1 percent. The euro advanced 0.1 percent to $1.1417. The Japanese yen fell 0.1 percent to 113.28 per dollar.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 3.2 percent.