U.S. Stocks Advance

U.S. stocks advanced in an Election Day rally after MasterCard Inc. reported better-than-estimated earnings and money-market rates retreated.

MasterCard, the world's second-biggest credit-card company, jumped 11 percent on profit that was boosted by higher overseas revenue. Citigroup Inc., the second-biggest U.S. bank, added 3 percent as interbank lending rates declined. General Electric Co. and CIT Group Inc. climbed on a Wall Street Journal report that the U.S. Treasury may include financial companies beyond banks and insurers in its $700 billion rescue. Gains in Europe and Asia sent the MSCI World Index to a sixth straight advance.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 19.34 points, or 2 percent, to 985.64 at 9:34 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 171.32 points, or 1.8 percent, to 9,491.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 26.76, or 1.6 percent, to 1,753.09. Eight stocks rose for each that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. stocks fell yesterday, after drifting between gains and losses before the election, on the worst contraction in manufacturing since 1982 and forecasts that the sagging economy will curb profits. The winner between Democrat Barack Obama, who leads in national polls, and Republican John McCain must contend with an economy crippled by declining corporate profits and the highest unemployment in five years.

Stocks advanced in Europe and Asia, sending the MSCI World Index to its sixth straight gain, after results from Clariant AG and Marks & Spencer Group Plc eased concern about profit growth, while money-market interest rates declined.

The MSCI World Index added 1.4 percent to 975.15 at 12:24 p.m. in London. The gauge for 23 developed countries rose six straight days for the first time since July, rallying 17 percent from a five-year low on Oct. 27. Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index advanced for a sixth day, climbing 2.7 percent, the longest stretch of gains since August 2007, when the credit crisis got under way.

U.K. stocks advanced for a sixth day, led by retailers and airlines after Marks & Spencer Group Plc reported first-half net income ahead of analysts' estimates and crude oil declined. The FTSE 100 Index gained 115.371, or 2.6 percent, at 1:06 p.m. in London.

German stocks rose for a fourth day as lower money-market rates lifted financial shares, overshadowing concern the economic slowdown will curb profits. The benchmark DAX Index advanced 93.08, or 1.9 percent, to 5,119.92 at 1:16 p.m. in Frankfurt.

Shares in Asia rose, led by financial companies, as Australia's central bank cut interest rates more than economists expected. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 6.3 percent as trading resumed following yesterday's holiday. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Westpac Banking Corp. gained. The S&P/ASX 200 Index decreased 6.4 points, or 0.15 percent, halting a four-day, 11 percent rally.

China's stocks fell to the lowest in almost two years, led by energy and commodity companies, after crude oil prices slumped and Yunnan Tin Co. announced a production cut because of reduced demand. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China's two exchanges, declined 25.78, or 1.6 percent, to 1,627.76 at the close, the lowest since November 2006.

Indian stocks rose, with the benchmark index climbing for a fifth day, on speculation overseas investors are buying the nation's equities as redemptions ease. The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 293.44, or 2.8 percent, to 10,631.12.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
11/4/2008 7:26:42 AM