By Stephen Kirkland and Rita Nazareth
NEW YORK - U.S. stocks gained for a second day with commodities, while the dollar and Treasuries fell, as Americans headed to polls to elect a president. Australia’s dollar rallied as the central bank left interest rates unchanged.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.4 percent to 1,422.69 and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.5 percent at 10:25 a.m. in New York. Australia’s currency strengthened 0.6 percent to $1.0429. Treasury 10-year notes snapped a two-day advance, sending yields up one basis point to 1.70 percent, and the dollar weakened against 14 of 16 major peers. Sugar, lead and gasoline led gains in commodities.
U.S. voters decide today between giving President Barack Obama another four years or replacing him with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The next president will need to address a so-called fiscal cliff of more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that take effect in 2013 unless Congress can reach a budget compromise.
“We’re moving closer to a definition on the election front,” said Mark Luschini, who helps manage $54 billion as chief investment strategist for Philadelphia-based Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. “It’s offering investors reason to say: we move from the unknown category regardless of the outcome.”
Energy, industrial and financial shares led an advance in eight of the 10 main industries in the S&P 500. United Technologies Corp., Boeing Co. and International Business Machines Corp. rose more than 1 percent for the best gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Computer Sciences Corp., the manager of networks for NASA and the U.S. Navy, climbed 15 percent after a cost-cutting program helped the company boost its annual profit forecast. Intel slipped 0.6 percent after yesterday’s 1 percent drop. Three people with knowledge of the work said yesterday that Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its Mac desktops and laptops. Apple began using Intel chips for Macs in 2005.
Of S&P 500 companies that have released third-quarter results, 71 percent beat analysts’ profit estimates, while 60 percent missed sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nineteen members of the index are due to report earnings today.
Subfreezing temperatures and confusion greeted voters in storm-ravaged New York and New Jersey, where officials moved more than 240 polling sites damaged by Hurricane Sandy to alternate locations.