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Illustration by Mike Haddad

Stocks are higher near midday Thursday, as investors put aside earlier election jitters.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

is up 0.3% while the

S&P 500

is rising 0.5% and the

Nasdaq Composite

is in the lead, with a 0.9% gain.

Shares reversed early losses after Republicans vowed a peaceful inauguration in January, after President Trump didn’t commit to an uncontested transition of power if he loses the election.

Tension around the U.S. election, along with the rise in Covid-19 cases, have been weighing on markets’ moods. “President Trump’s comment is ‘we are going to have to see what happens’ and [he] continues to criticize the mail-in voting process, which is adding to an increased level of uncertainty and drama around the election,” Tigress Financial Intelligence’s Chief Market Strategist Ivan Feinseth noted.

Meanwhile, jobless claims ticked up in the last week, although expectations had been for a decline.

Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors, noted that he was heartened by a decline in claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, aimed at self-employed and gig workers, as government agencies may be weeding out suspect applications. “The economic recovery, while slowing, should continue to support job creation and a gradual return to full employment. Progress has slowed, but some questions around the accuracy of some of the jobless claims data obfuscates the picture.”


Bed Bath & Beyond

(BBBY) is up 4.2% after an upgrade from Robert W. Baird, which argued that the retailer’s turnaround can exceed low expectations.


Darden Restaurants

(DRI) is up 6.6% after the Olive Garden owner beat earnings estimates, guided above expectations, and reinstated its dividend.


Moderna

(MRNA) is down 1.6% after Leerink SVB warned that the shares look pricey even if the company’s Covid-19 vaccine succeeds.

Write to Teresa Rivas at teresa.rivas@barrons.com