Celebrations at the Obama victory rally in Chicago (AP)

Welcome to the Wednesday morning FT live blog on the 2012 election, beginning moments after Barack Obama renewed his pledge to unite America and tackle its looming problems, particularly the so-called “fiscal cliff”. If you want to relive a decisive night in US politics, you can do it here. President Obama’s victory speech is here. We’ll track reaction from markets and governments around the world. By Anjli Raval and Arash Massoudi in New York and Ben Fenton and John Aglionby in London. (Times in GMT)

21.20: We’re signing off now, thank you for following the US election 2012 live blog.

21.16: As we shut down the blog for the day, here is a final look at US markets from Vivianne Rodrigues, US capital markets reporter, at the close of play:

“All major benchmark indices declined by more than 2 per cent. Wall Street’s S&P 500 suffered their worst day of losses since June, ending the session below the 1,400 mark. US treasuries yield fell over 10 basis points as investors fled riskier assets for haven investments such as top tier government bonds. The 10-year note yield ended the session at 1.64 per cent. Meanwhile, the dollar index rose 0.2 per cent and gold prices see-sawed wildly before ending the session slightly higher at $1,717 a troy ounce.”

 

Voters wait outside a makeshift polling station on Sandy-ravaged Staten Island, New York. (AP)

Welcome to the FT’s live coverage of a momentous election in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to lead them through a future of economic and political uncertainty. Here is our moment-by-moment reporting as months of bitter campaigning and rancorous rhetoric end, and voters finally have their say. By Anjli Raval and Arash Massoudi in New York and John Aglionby and Ben Fenton in London. (All times EST)

16.52 We’re going to take a short break before the polls start to close. Stay tuned for more live coverage on FT.com, which can be found here.

16.49: Lionel Barber, Financial Times editor, writes a piece from Washington saying that America’s real test comes after the polls: 

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone crisis. Mario Draghi has unveiled the ECB’s bond-buying scheme. By Tom Burgis, Ben Fenton,  John Aglionby and Ruona Agbroko on the newsdesk in London and Anjli Raval in New York with contributions by FT correspondents around the world. All times are BST.

21.40 As we close up today’s blog, here is a last US markets round-up from Arash Massoudi in New York:

What a day for equities on Wall Street. US stocks  jumped to their highest closing level since January 2008 as investors piled into risk assets.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose 2.04 per cent to finish at 1,432.12. All ten broad sector groups on the index moved more than 1 per cent higher. Financials were among the day’s top performers with bulge bracket banks enjoying hefty gains. Bank of America rose 5 per cent to $8.35, Citigroup climbed 4.5 per cent to $31.12 and JPMorgan Chase gained 4.3 per cent to $38.69. Broadly, the S&P 500 is up 13.9 per cent since the start of the year.

The Nasdaq closed at its highest level since December 2000.