3:50 pm ET: There's no doubt that Romney did much better than expected in last night's debate (a CNBC poll showed that 67% of the respondents felt that Romney had won). His strong showing undoubtedly made a significant contribution to today's market rally mainly because of his pro-business stance. His vow to abolish Obamacare (if elected) boosted big pharma stocks to new highs: Abbot Labs (NYSE:ABT), Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY), Merck (NYSE:MRK), Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), and Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO). The healthcare etfs (IXJ, XLV) haven't needed help making new highs but certainly Romney's remark didn't hurt.
Romney also mentioned that he was in favor of coal as an energy source. That comment lit a small fire under coal mining stocks whose share prices have been particularly hard hit under Obama: James River Coal (JRCC), Arch Coal (ACI), Peabody Energy (BTU--great stock symbol!), Alpha Natural (ANR), and Consol Energy (NYSE:CNX) all enjoyed big gains (5-12%).
A Romney win would be a boon for the "risk-on" trade--good for stocks, commodities, and foreign currencies; bad for the greenback and Treasuries. The jump in precious metals today was a reflection of that trade. Platinum especially saw nice gains with one platinum etf (NYSEARCA:PTM) breaking resistance. (Note that this issue is not heavily traded.) Also getting a boost were the country funds with Thailand etfs (TTF, THD) both reaching new highs. Joining the club was the Mexico fund (NYSEARCA:EWW) which tacked on another 2% to its recent rally. Since June, this fund has gained nearly 25%. For those looking to add some international exposure, the stock pays a small dividend (1.4%) and does have liquid options at the near-the-money strikes for all of you looking to write covered calls.
Both the major indices and the market internals are optimistically bullish, but tomorrow's jobs report has the ability to quickly douse this rally. Stay tuned!
Note to Subscribers: There are two new Stock Darlings and I'm still working on the Stock of the Day.