US stocks were mixed in early trade on Monday as investors awaited news of the midterm elections and gains from energy and financial stocks boosted market sentiment.
Americans are set to vote on Tuesday in elections for open congressional and senate seats as well as for governors. Democrats are set to take control of the House of Representatives while Republicans are predicted to keep hold of a small majority in the US Senate.
Early in the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 88 points to hit 25,359, lifted by Chevron, Travelers, International Business Machines, American Express and Coca-Cola.
The S&P 500 also headed higher to climb 10 points, pushed up by gains from EQT Corp and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. The index also benefited from a 3.9% jump from Berkshire Hathaway after the conglomerate smashed third-quarter earnings due to stronger insurance results, lower taxes and solid gains from its massive investment portfolio.
The S&P’s basket of financial stocks was trading 1.2% higher while the S&P’s energy sector jumped 1.4% in early trade.
Elsewhere, the tech-laden Nasdaq broke with the pack and drifted into negative territory, shedding 52 points to hit 7,304, dragged back by losses from Activision Blizzard, Align Technology, and Skywork Solutions.
Amazon.com shares (NASDAQ:AMZN) were also trading 2.5% lower after the retailer dropped its $25 minimum for free shipping through the holiday season. Similarly, Apple shares (NASDAQ:AAPL) were down nearly 3% after the iPhone maker drew a second downgrade from a Wall Street analyst (Rosenblatt Securities) following its quarterly earnings report from last week.
Up in Canada, Toronto’s TSX gained 72 points to hit 15,191, lifted by the upward movement of energy and healthcare stocks while the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks nudged up by 6.5 points to reach 1,554.
7:16 AM: Wall Street stocks seen mixed as investors seek direction; mid-term elections and US/ Sino trade deal in focus
After finishing Friday in the red, Wall Street shares are mixed Monday, as optimism over a potential US/ China trade deal eased and ahead of mid-term elections tomorrow (Tuesday).
In Europe, major indices are ahead as it's another big week for Brexit negotiations and UK Prime Minister May's exit strategy.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial index closed Friday down nearly 110 points at 25,270, while the S&P 500 shed around 17 at 2,723. The tech-heavy Nasdaq shed over 77 points at 7,356 as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) mixed fourth quarter provided a drag.
In futures trade at the time of writing, the Dow Jones is down nearly 80 points; the S&P 500 is ahead by just 0.45 and the tech heavy Nasdaq exchange is up nearly ten points.
"I think we’ve entered wait and see mode which, given the volatility of recent weeks, isn’t the worst thing,” said market analyst Craig Erlam at Forex group Oanda, giving every impression of a person grateful for a quiet start to the week after an exacting weekend.
"The US mid-term elections in Tuesday seem to be encouraging investors to sit on their hands.
He added: "The midterms may generate more volatility in the middle of the week as we see the knee-jerk reactions to the result but at this stage it’s tough to judge how markets would respond."
In Asia overnight, the Nikkei 225 index plunged over 344 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index in China is down around 11 points at 2,665.
In London, FTSE 100 is ahead by around 16 at 7,100, the German DAX is up just over 15 and the French CAC 40 is up around five points.