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IEM Traders Buy Futures on Election

Twenty-one thousand traders from across the country have put up a total of $157,000 on the outcome of Tuesday's elections in electronic markets at the University of Iowa. And so far, it's too close to call the result. A Republican-controlled House and a Democrat-controlled Senate, retaining the status quo, has the most bids, with 58 cents on the dollar. But it's still way too early. Other options are a GOP sweep, a Democratic Congress and a Democrat controlled House and Republican Senate. "That's actually surprisingly uncertain for this stage in the election," says THOMAS RIETZ, professor of finance at Iowa who helps oversee the markets. The contract needs at least a 90-cent bid on the dollar to call an election, he says. As in any market, prices rise and fall according to how many people want to buy or sell.

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