The countdown to the close of U.K. 'Brexit' polls is on and Wall Street appeared fairly confident the votes would swing in their favor on Thursday.
Global traders have good reason to support the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union. An exit would cause significant political and economic repercussions both for the region and globally, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen warned earlier this week.
The higher chances of a "remain" vote boosted equities on Thursday. The S&P 500 closed up 1.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average also climbed 1.3%, and the Nasdaq added 1.6%.
An Ipsos Mori poll showed 52% voting for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union with 48% saying they preferred to leave, backing up a ComRes telephone poll and YouGov poll released on Wednesday. Support for both sides is strong, though, and calling a victory for either is still far too difficult.
"Most polls report the outcome is too close to call, however, markets appear to be confident that the "Stay" camp will be victorious (or perhaps, given the non-binding nature of the referendum and near 50-50 split among voters, markets simply anticipate policy makers will maintain the status quo regardless of the outcome of the vote)," said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income.
The polling stations close at 10 p.m. London time -- 5 p.m. EDT -- with a clear indication of which way the voting is going likely to emerge from about 11 p.m. EDT. More than 46 million people in Great Britain are registered to vote in the referendum.
Manufacturing in June appeared to rebound from a weak May, according to a flash reading of Markit's manufacturing PMI. The measure rose to a reading of 51.4 in June from 50.7 in May, the weakest level since September 2009. June activity was at its best in three months.
New home sales slowed in May after a breakneck pace of growth in April, according to the Commerce Department. The number of new homes sold last month fell by 6% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 551,000, slightly below estimates of 560,000. Demand remains strong with tight inventory and low interest rates boosting sector activity.
Volkswagen (VLKAY) reportedly has agreed to pay roughly $10.2 billion to settle a U.S. investigation into its emissions-cheating technology. The payout would largely be divided between the 482,000 affected customers.
Department store Macy's (M - Get Report) announced that that current Macy's president, Jeff Gennette, who has spent 33 years at the company, will assume the role of CEO in the first quarter of 2017. Gennette was previously elevated to president in 2014. The retailer has battled sluggish sales the past year. The stock rose 1.7%.
BlackBerry (BBRY) reported a wider loss and another decline in revenue in its first quarter. The smartphone maker posted a net loss of $670 million in the latest three-month period compared to income of $68 million in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted net income was breakeven, better than an expected loss of 9 cents a share. Revenue fell nearly 40%, though came in above estimates.
Communications software developer Twilio (TWLO - Get Report) traded with a bang in its debut day on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. The stock popped 92% to $28.79 Thursday, well above its IPO price of $15 a share.