* U.S. stocks rise on light buying
* U.S. elections keeps markets subdued
* Euro steady after hitting two-month low before Greece
* Gold poised for biggest one-day rise since September
By Richard Leong
NEW YORK, Nov 6 World stock markets rose on
Tuesday as American voters went to the polls, with the U.S.
presidential election keeping trade subdued, while the euro held
steady despite uncertainty over Greece's next financial aid
Polls indicated President Barack Obama and Republican
challenger Mitt Romney remained in a neck-and-neck race,
although the Democratic incumbent has a slight edge in several
key swing states.
Traders are focused on how the outcome will affect the U.S.
government's handling of the "fiscal cliff," the $600 billion
worth of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in on
Jan. 1 unless Congress takes action.
Economists have said the spending cuts and tax hikes could
ignite a new recession in the world's biggest economy, while
Europe continued to struggle with a prolonged debt crisis that
has hurt regional growth.
There is no clear consensus in financial markets on whether
Obama or Romney could reach a timely deal with leaders of the
opposing party to avoid the fiscal cliff.
"We do know this much," said Peter Kenny, managing director
at Knight Capital in Jersey City, New Jersey. "Though the
resident in the White House may change, the face of Washington
is still going to be one of tremendous gridlock, discord and
dysfunction, and markets are going to force Washington to come
to terms with the dysfunction."
The winner will also decide who will head the Federal
Reserve. There has been speculation Ben Bernanke, whose tenure
expires in January 2014, might not want to serve another term.
Romney has said he will not reappoint Bernanke as Fed Chairman.
"If Obama wins, we would be certain Ben Bernanke would
remain in office as Federal Reserve chairman at least until his
normal term expires," said Peter Fertig, a consultant with
Quantitative Commodity Research in London.
On below-average volume at noon, the Dow Jones industrial
average was up 152.26 points, or 1.16 percent, at
13,264.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 13.01
points, or 0.92 percent, at 1,430.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index
was up 17.51 points, or 0.58 percent, at 3,017.17.
Express Scripts Holding Co plunged 13.6 percent to
$54.30 and was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq after the pharmacy
benefits manager said analysts' forecasts for its 2013 results
were too aggressive, casting doubt on how well it is integrating
its $29 billion purchase of Medco Health Solutions Inc.
Emerson Electric Co climbed 2.7 percent to $51.85
after the industrial conglomerate posted adjusted earnings that
topped Wall Street expectations and said it will pursue a sale
of its $1.4 billion embedded computing and power business.
Top European shares provisionally closed 0.6
percent higher, rebounding from Monday's losses, boosted by
strength in the technology and travel and leisure sectors.
Hannover Re, the world's third-biggest reinsurer,
rose 4.5 percent at 55.90 euros after its quarterly profit beat
forecasts and it lifted its expectations for 2012 and 2013.
World stocks on the MSCI global index were
up 0.76 percent after back-to-back losing sessions.
Developments in Greece were also being keenly followed. The
Greek parliament will vote on Wednesday on 13.5 billion euros of
fresh spending cuts and tax hikes that are crucial to unlocking
31.5 billion euros in aid. There will be a follow-up vote on
Sunday on an austerity budget for 2013.
"Suffice to say if the vote fails, the euro will drop and
the dollar will rally, but even if the vote passes, any rally in
the euro will be short-lived," said Neil Mellor, currency
strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London.
The euro recovered against the dollar at $1.2817, little
changed on the day, after the single currency fell to a
two-month low at $1.2764.
The dollar retreated from a two-month high against a basket
of major currencies. The dollar index last traded down
0.18 percent at 80.607.
In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries prices dipped and German
government debt held steady after racking up safe-haven gains on
Monday tied to uncertainty about the U.S. election.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were down 7/32
in price to yield 1.703 percent, up 2 basis points from Monday.
German Bund futures were flat at 142.04.
In commodity markets, Brent crude oil rose $1.73 to
$109.46 a barrel and U.S. oil futures rose $1.20 at
$86.85, tracking gains in equities markets.
Gold was poised for its biggest one-day gain since late
September, although it was hovering near a nine-week low set on
Monday. Bullion was about 0.8 percent higher at $1,697.69 an