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Stocks are set to open stronger today as global markets edged higher and the focus on the US Presidential election intensifies. About an hour before the opening bell on Wall Street, stock index futures hint at a possible 175-point gain for the Dow and a 25-point early advance for the NASDAQ. Volume is expected to be light, as many people will be heading to the polls and or simply sidelined awaiting the results.

Another day of gains in overseas markets helps set a positive tone for US trading. In Japan, where markets closed Monday for a holiday, the Nikkei opened the week with a 538 point or 6.7 percent gain. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng recovered early losses and closed with a .3 percent gain.

Shares are higher across Europe. France’s CAC 40 is leading a midday advance with a 2.9 percent gain. UK’s FTSE is up 2.6 percent and Germany’s DAX added 2.4 percent.

In the US, the focus is likely to be on the elections as the economic calendar is light Tuesday. A report on Factory Orders is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. EST. Economists expect the report to show a .8 percent decline in September, which follows a 4 percent decline the month before.

Important data await after the election passes. Investors get a first look at the condition in the jobs market for October courtesy of ADP, which releases its monthly numbers Wednesday morning. The ISM Services Index is also due out tomorrow.

Weekly jobless claims numbers Thursday will take on added importance as the report comes the day before key monthly jobs data Friday. Reports on pending home sales, consumer credit, and wholesale inventories are also due out Friday.

Bonds are lower and the dollar is mixed. The benchmark ten-year Treasury bond lost 10/32nd in early electronic trading. The dollar rose .55 to 99.58 on the yen. The euro took back another .0238 to 1.284 against the buck early Tuesday.

Energy-related stocks might open higher after crude oil rose $1.44 to $65.25 a barrel and gold gained $14.30 to $741.10 an ounce.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) shares rose 11.5 percent after the credit card company reported quarterly earnings of $2.47 per share, which beat estimates by 22 cents. Revenues rose a better-than-expected 23.7 percent.

Archer Daniels (NYSE:ADM) reported $1.63 per share for the company, which beat Street estimates by more than 90 cents. ADM revenues rose 65 percent.

Officemax (NYSE:OMX) might see early strength after Friedman Billings raised the stock from Market Perform to Outperform. Deutsche Bank raised Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) from Neutral to Outperform.

In the options market, volume was light and volatility eased heading into election Tuesday. Approximately 4.3 million puts and 4.7 million calls traded on the US options exchanges Monday. Volatility took a day off, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average chopping through the session and closing with a single digit loss. The CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX) fell 6.21 points to 53.68.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) saw a jump in call volume ahead of a presentation today at the Goldman Sachs Global Industrials Conference. Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) call options were active on unsubstantiated takeover chatter. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was mentioned as a possible suitor.

Bullish order flow was also seen in Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX), Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), and McKesson (NYSE:MCK). Meanwhile, bearish trading surfaced in Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Mohawk Industries (NYSE:MHK), and Aluminum Corp. of China (NYSE:ACH).

Disclosure: none

Source: Early Indications Point to Election Day Rally