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NEW YORK: US stock indexes edged higher in choppy trading on Monday, with focus shifting to Tuesday’s midterm elections that will determine control of Congress, while shares of Meta Platforms jumped on a report of job cuts at the Facebook parent.

Republicans have picked up momentum in polls and analysts see a split government, with the GOP winning the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate, as the likely outcome possibly hindering Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda.

“Under this election outcome scenario, we doubt we would make any major changes to our forecasts for GDP growth, inflation or the federal funds rate as a result of the election,” Wells Fargo economists said.

“Instead, status quo and political gridlock strike us as the most likely outcome, with the possibility for some government shutdown/debt ceiling theatrics over the next two years.” A split government could result in political gridlock that stymies major policy changes, an outcome that investors see as favorable for equities.

Focus will also be on US consumer prices data for October, due to be released on Thursday, for clues on whether the US Federal Reserve’s rapid interest rate hikes are helping cool down the economy.

Four Fed policymakers on Friday indicated they would still consider a smaller rate hike at their next policy meeting, despite new data showing another month of robust job gains and only small signs of progress in lowering inflation.

Traders are now betting on 67% odds of a 50-basis point rate hike at the US central bank’s meeting in December.

All the three major US indexes are in bear market territory, from their previous record closing highs. The S&P 500 has lost nearly 20.7% year-to-date on worries that aggressive monetary policy tightening could tip the economy into a recession.

At 10:06 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 117.28 points, or 0.36%, at 32,520.50, the S&P 500 was up 9.74 points, or 0.26%, at 3,780.29, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 17.44 points, or 0.17%, at 10,492.69.

Shares of Meta Platforms Inc climbed 5.4% following a report that the company was planning to begin large-scale layoffs this week.

Weighing on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, Apple Inc fell 1.2% after the company said it expected lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models than previously anticipated.

Digital World Acquisition Corp surged 21% as former US President Donald Trump hinted at another White House bid. The blank check firm has agreed to take social-media startup Trump Media & Technology Group Corp public.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc rose 4.8% as VillageMD, a primary care provider backed by the pharmacy chain, said it will acquire Summit Health in a deal valued at nearly $9 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.10-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded six new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 95 new lows.


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