US stocks mixed ahead of midterm elections

A monitor displays stock market information on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange . (Bloomberg pic)

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks were mixed early Monday ahead of much-anticipated US congressional elections that will affect the course of President Donald Trump’s policy agenda.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,355.44, up 0.3%.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.2% to 2,728.22, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.6% to 7,313.05.

Investors are taking a wait-and-see attitude towards the US midterm elections, with polls suggesting the Democrats will take back the House of Representatives, while the Senate will stay under Republican control.

Analysts do not expect such an outcome to undo Trump’s tax cuts or regulatory rollbacks but the White House would face much more scrutiny as far as congressional investigations.

Besides Tuesday’s elections, key events this week include a two-day Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting concluding Thursday. Analysts expect no change this week as far as interest rates but the Fed’s statement will be scrutinized as to whether it still foreshadows another interest rate hike in December.

Oil prices rose modestly after the US re-imposed sanctions on Iran, even as the US granted waivers to eight countries, including China and Japan, from a ban on Iranian crude purchases.

Petroleum-linked stocks advanced, with Chevron surging 3.7%, Conoco 2.2% and Halliburton 1.4%.