Futures Fly as Vote Count Rolls On

U.S. stock index futures were sharply higher early Thursday on hopes the winner of the U.S. presidential election would soon be determined.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials popped 401 points, or 1.5%, to 28.136.

Futures for the S&P 500 picked up 63.75 points, or 1.9%, at 3,498.75.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite heightened 304 points, or 2.6%, to 12,067.

Late Wednesday, media outlets projected that former Vice President Joe Biden was the winner in Wisconsin and Michigan, both states that President Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election. Biden would then be just 17 Electoral College votes away from winning.

Even with the president-elect unclear, stocks rose broadly during Wednesday’s trading session as hopes for a blue wave in Congress dwindled, which some argued would have been a headwind for areas of the market including Big Tech.

U.S. equities’ surge came despite the election results remaining up in the air following record voter turnout, as well as a jump in absentee ballots as people stayed home amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The Trump campaign said it would seek a recount in Wisconsin, while earlier on Wednesday announcing that it was suing to halt ballot counting in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Late Wednesday the campaign also said it had filed suit in Georgia seeking to require all counties there to separate ballots that arrive after the voting deadline from other, "legally cast ballots."

Meanwhile, the Democrats were projected to retain control of the House, while flipping the Senate became increasingly unlikely.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that passing further stimulus will be the chamber’s top priority when it reconvenes, although analysts warned that without a blue wave the package will be smaller than the $3 trillion Democrats wanted.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 index vaulted 1.7%, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index soared 3.3%.

Oil prices fell 15 cents to $39.00 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices soared $33.40 to $1,929.60.