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The close: Dow gains ahead of U.S. election Add to ...

U.S. stocks shook off early declines on Monday, ending the day slightly higher on low trading volume as Americans vote in Presidential elections on Tuesday. Canadian stocks fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,112.44, up 19.28 points or 0.2 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1417.26, up 3.06 points or 0.2 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,352.78, down 27.63 points or 0.2 per cent.

The ISM report on U.S. non-manufacturing activity in October fell to 54.2, down from 55.1 in September. While that remains in expansion territory, economists had been expecting a better reading of 54.5. Non-manufacturing activity represents about 90 per cent of U.S. economic activity.

But markets are probably more focused on what is still coming this week: The U.S. Presidential elections will be held on Tuesday, and results could have a profound impact on how the country deals with its deficit, its taxes and its relations with China.

According to Bloomberg News, trading volume for stocks in the S&P 500 was 19 per cent below the 30-day moving average – suggesting that many investors were sitting tight ahead of the election.

Apple Inc. rose 1.4 per cent after it said that it sold 3 million new iPad minis over the course of the weekend.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. rose 0.5 per cent after it reported a record high load factor of 81.2 per cent in October.

Among commodities, gold rose to $1,683.20 (U.S.) an ounce, up $8 – a modest rebound after touching its lowest level since the end of August last week. Crude oil rose to $85.65 a barrel, up 79 cents. On Friday, it hit its lowest level since July.

Among Canadian commodity producers, Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.6 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.7 per cent.

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