U.S. stocks gain on widening Clinton lead, oil surges

Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:25pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks strode higher on Monday, lifted by Hillary Clinton's widening lead in the U.S. presidential campaign and by a surge in oil prices, while sterling was under pressure on concerns Britain will make a hard exit from the European Union.

Brent crude prices rose to their highest in a year after Russia said it was ready to join a proposed deal to cap oil production in the hope of stemming a two-year price slide, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Istanbul.

Sterling extended losses from Friday, when the British currency plunged to a 31-year low in what has been described as a "flash crash" event.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday showed Clinton increasing the lead she has held over Donald Trump for months.

The survey, conducted over the weekend but before Sunday night's debate, showed Clinton with 46-percent support among likely voters in a four-way match-up, compared to 35 percent for Trump.

"Investors probably perceive a Trump victory as a great unknown. As fresh opinion polls show Clinton's lead widening, investors are likely taking some solace from that," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market strategist at Interactive Brokers LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.

A snap poll taken by CNN immediately following the debate indicated Clinton had beaten Trump, 57 percent to 34 percent.

Investors see a Clinton administration as more predictable than one led by Trump, who has raised fears of market volatility around his candidacy, said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid