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Overnight Markets: Stocks gain as Obama retains White House

Wall Street closed with sharp gains on Tuesday, while Asian shares inched higher today in afternoon trade.

Overnight Markets: Stocks gain as Obama retains White House

Asian stocks advanced on Wednesday in afternoon trade amid upbeat corporate earnings and as U.S. President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney to win a second term.

According to the latest reports, Obama retained White House after clinching convincing victory in the crucial state of California. Vote count on Reuters at this stage showed Obama securing 290 electoral votes with Romney on 203. The U.S. president claimed victory with posts on his Twitter and Facebook pages. 'This happened because of you. Thank you. Four more years,' he tweeted on his official account.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.4% to 123 as of 1:35 p.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.4% and the Shanghai Composite slid 0.3%.

Yesterday, Wall Street closed with sharp gains as investors looked forward to the resolution to the hard-fought battle between Obama and Romney.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 133 points, or 1%, at 13,246. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 11 points, or 0.79%, at 1,428. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 12 points, or 0.41%, at 3,012.

Shares gained in part due to expectations that a winner in the presidential race would be known late Tuesday or early Wednesday, defying a string of weaker-than expected results from U.S. companies.

There was a heavy betting in the options market on shares that could benefit specifically from either an Obama or a Romney win, such as health care and energy shares. United Healthcare, which would be expected to do well under Obama, rose 2%. Aetna was up.

Arch Coal, one of the coal shares that could benefit under a Romney administration, jumped 3.8%. Planemaker Boeing gained 2.3%, in part on speculation that Romney could come out on top.

Computer Sciences Corp surged 17% after the U.S. technology services provider registered a second-quarter profit that exceeded estimates as the company halved costs.

AOL Inc climbed 22% after it reported higher-than-expected revenue and profit on the strongest advertising growth the Internet company has seen in seven years.

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