S&P 500, Nasdaq book best postelection rally in history as Biden-Trump presidential contest remains undecided

/ / News

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on Wednesday produced the best postelection gain on record, as investors focus on the possibility that the race for the White House between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden might yield a split government. Biden was seen edging Trump for the presidency after Tuesday’s Election Day results, which were still being tallied but the expectations for a Democratic sweep appeared dashed, making it more likely that Republicans and Democrats would lock horns over the next four years–viewed as the type of political gridlock that is felicitous for financial markets. Crucial battleground states like Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania continued to be counted, with Biden holding a 248 electoral college lead, compared against Trump’s 214. A total of 270 votes are required to determine a winner for the White House. Technology-related stocks led the way on Wednesday on the belief that a Biden victory and a split Congress would make the Democratic challenger’s hope of raising taxes and enacting stricter regulation on tech companies less likely. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 430 points, or 3.9%, to reach 11,591, the S&P 500 index climbed 74.45 points, or 2.2%, to 3,443, with both indexes registering their best returns in the trading day after an election on record, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.3% higher at 27,848, but finished the session well off its best levels at 28,302, which would have resulted in the best day for the benchmark since 1900. In corporate news, shares of Biogen surged after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration offered a positive assessment of the company’s experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug. Meanwhile, health-care shares [s; XLV] gained 4.5% on the day, leading the S&P 500’s 11 sectors, perhaps, on the belief that a Biden presidency would maintain Obamacare. The focus on politics comes also as the Federal Reserve commenced its two-day policy meeting which will conclude on Thursday and could signal that the central bank will reiterate its support for financial markets amid the economic uncertainty wrought by the pandemic.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.