U.S. stocks advance ahead of American presidential elections

U.S. stocks advanced, rebounding from an earlier decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as Americans prepared to vote in the presidential election.

Apple Inc. rose 1.4 percent as it sold 3 million units of its iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad during the debut weekend, saying demand for the smaller version of its tablet outstripped supply. KBW Inc. added 7.2 percent as Stifel Financial Corp. agreed to buy the boutique investment bank in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $575 million. Time Warner Cable Inc. declined 6.4 percent amid disappointing earnings.

The S&P 500 added 0.2 percent to 1,417.26 at 4 p.m. New York time. It fell 0.4 percent earlier today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,112.44. Volume for exchange-listed stocks in the U.S. was 5.1 billion shares, or 13 percent below the three-month average.

“People are more like holding their breath and turning blue,” said Madelynn Matlock, who helps oversee about $14.7 billion at Huntington Asset Advisors in Cincinnati. She spoke in a phone interview. “There’s the election in the U.S. That keeps investors on the sidelines.”

U.S. voters decide tomorrow between giving President Barack Obama another four years in office or changing course with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Earlier losses were driven by concern about a worsening of Europe’s debt crisis. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will this week battle to win political support for measures to obtain aid.

Service Industries

The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index declined to 54.2 last month from 55.1 in September, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Economists projected 54.5, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Readings above 50 signal expansion in the gauge of industries that account for almost 90 percent of the economy.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent last week as the market reopened after Hurricane Sandy caused the longest weather- related shutdown since 1888. The benchmark gauge for American equities has surged 13 percent this year as central banks around the world stepped up stimulus to boost the economy. About 70 percent of companies that released quarterly results have beaten analysts’ estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Markets are expected to remain mostly range bound today, with some more downside possible as investors tend to take money off the table, preferring to take a wait-and-see attitude until the picture is clearer,” Markus Huber, head of German sales trading at ETX Capital in London, wrote in an e-mail.

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