US stocks are rallying with the rest of most global markets as Britons vote on whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU.
Near 10:39 a.m. ET, the Dow was up 131 points (0.74%), the S&P 500 was up 15 points (0.73%) and the Nasdaq was up 37 points (0.76%).
An estimated 46 million people are expected to vote Thursday, and the first conclusive results should start trickling in around 4 a.m. BST (11 p.m. ET).
“The market is looking pretty strongly like it thinks there will be a ‘remain,'” said Gareth Isaac, fixed-income fund manager at Schroders, which oversees $467 billion in assets.
Global risk assets including stocks have climbed during the past week as more polls showed the final result tilting in favour of the UK’s continued membership in the EU.
Treasurys — which rallied as traders looked for safer assets — were lower on Thursday, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up two basis points to 1.715%. The euro rallied, and the pound rose to its best level against the dollar this year.
Because markets are reflecting a “remain” outcome, any sell-off in the event that Britain votes to exit the EU would be more outsized than a relief rally, Isaac said.
“Especially after the rally in risk assets last week … I think the skew is towards the downside.”
In US economic data:
- Initial jobless claims fell by 18,000 to 259,000 last week, more than expected. Claims have now come in under 300,000 for 68 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1973.
- Markit’s flash manufacturing PMI for June rose more than expected to 51.4, a three-month high. The sector gained momentum after a sluggish first quarter.
- New home sales fell less than expected in May, by 6%, according to the Census Bureau.
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