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US stocks sharply higher in morning trading; oil rises

By ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writer

Financial companies led a broad rally in U.S. stocks in morning trading Monday as investors focused on the latest turns ahead of Election Day. The FBI announced late Sunday that its review of newly discovered Hillary Clinton emails found no evidence warranting charges against the presidential candidate. Traders have been anxious in recent weeks over signs that the presidential race was tightening.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 305 points, or 1.7 percent, to 18,194 as of 11:21 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 39 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,124. The S&P 500, a key market benchmark, is coming off its longest losing streak since 1980, nine days of losses in a row, during which it lost 66 points. So far, Monday's gains have wiped out more than half of those losses. The Nasdaq composite index added 112 points, or 2.2 percent, to 5,158.

ELECTION EFFECT: Clinton got a boost late Sunday, when FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers that a review of new Clinton emails did not change the bureau's recommendation that she should not face charges. The market wilted on Oct. 28 after the FBI notified Congress that it was reviewing newly discovered emails linked to Clinton, who is seen by Wall Street as likely to maintain the status quo. Donald Trump's policies are less clear, and the uncertainty and uncomfortable closeness of the polls caused jitters in financial markets ahead of Tuesday's general election.

SPARKLING DEAL: Blue Nile surged 34.4 percent on news that the online jewelry retailer is being acquired by a group of funds managed by Bank Capital and Bow Street. The stock added $10.46 to $40.90.

STRONG QUARTER: LendingClub vaulted 18.1 percent after the peer-to-peer lender reported better-than-expected quarterly results. The stock gained 93 cents to $6.06.

FDA BOOST: Shares in drugmaker Cempra climbed 5.8 percent after a Federal Drug Administration panel determined that the company's treatment for a type of pneumonia outweighs the risk of liver injury. The stock rose 44 cents to $7.99.

FLIGHT FROM SAFETY: The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect to see in the market over the next 30 days, slumped 17.5 percent Monday after surging 40 percent last week to its highest level since June, when Britain voted to leave the European Union. The slide in the VIX reflected less anxiety among investors. Safe haven investments also slumped as investors felt comfortable taking on more risk. Bond prices fell, driving the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to 1.82 percent from 1.78 percent late Friday, while the price of gold fell $23.60, or 1.8 percent, to $1,281 an ounce. Utilities and phone stocks, two other havens investors seek when they expect turmoil, lagged the market.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 1.7 percent, while France's CAC 40 was 1.7 percent higher. Britain's FTSE was up 1.6 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 finished 1.6 percent higher, while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.8 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong added 0.7 percent.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 25 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $44.32 a barrel in New York. The price of oil is coming off a six-day losing streak. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, was up 6 cents at $45.64 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened across the board. It was up to 104.57 yen from 103.13 on Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1040 from $1.1117. The dollar was down 2.2 percent to 18.61 Mexican pesos from 19.03 pesos. The Mexican currency has become an indirect proxy among investors for Trump's chances to win the White House. Investors have speculated that a Trump administration would be negative for the Mexican economy, and would cause the Mexican peso's value to fall as a result.

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