Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:
Markets: Europe’s stock markets made some modest gains Tuesday as Americans headed out to vote for their next President.
After months of campaigning and billions of dollars spent, election day has arrived. Many investors are hoping that the result will be clear enough to avoid a re-run of 2000 when the result was only known weeks later after a Supreme Court decision.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.5 percent at 7,365 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.6 percent to 3,470. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.5 percent at 5,866. Wall Street was poised for a solid opening too, with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.
While the focus in the markets remains on the U.S., investors will continue to monitor developments in Greece amid concerns that a political crisis in the country may end up derailing an austerity package that is required for the country to receive its next batch of bailout funds.
Greece: Greek trade unions launched a general strike and nationwide protests on Tuesday against a new package of austerity measures, to be voted on this week, which would condemn Greece to more years of hardship in exchange for rescue loans.
Flights to and from the country stopped for three hours at the start of a 48-hour strike that closed schools, halted train and ferry services, and left Athens without public transport or taxis while state hospitals ran on emergency staff.
More than 35,000 people marched in two separate demonstrations in Athens organized by labor unions. Another 20,000 gathered to protest in the country’s second largest city of Thessaloniki.
Police were on alert for potential violence, as most major anti-austerity protests over the past three years have degenerated into riots.
The demonstrations will culminate Wednesday, when lawmakers vote on a €13.5 billion ($17.3 billion) package of spending cuts and tax increases over the next two years.
Oil: The price of oil rose slightly Tuesday, to above $86 a barrel, as investors awaited the results of the U.S. presidential election.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for December delivery was up 47 cents to $86.12 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 79 cents to finish at $85.65 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday.
Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, was up 63 cents to $108.36 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
U.S. Futures: Stock futures headed higher in light trading Tuesday with polls opening on the East Coast.
Dow Jones industrial futures rose 31 points to 13,084. The broader S&P futures tacked on 4 points to 1,416. Nasdaq futures rose 11.75 points to 2,674.
For the second day in a row, many investors remained on the sidelines with the presidential contest so tight.
Shares of homebuilders were mostly higher in premarket trading.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.