Dow, S&P 500 scale new highs on possible Democrat sweep in Georgia

(Reuters) -U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday with the Dow and the S&P 500 notching record highs as investors piled into financial and industrial stocks on bets that a Democratic sweep in Georgia would lead to more fiscal stimulus and infrastructure spending.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag covers the front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Financials hit a 1-year high, while materials, industrial and energy sectors jumped between 2.5% and 3.4%.

Rate-sensitive bank shares jumped about 5%, tracking a surge in the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield. [US/]

Democrats won one U.S. Senate race in Georgia and led in another, moving closer to a surprise sweep in a former Republican stronghold that would give them control of Congress and the power to advance President-elect Joe Biden’s policy goals. A final outcome is not expected until later on Wednesday.

“The market is saying we can deal and live with this political decision,” said John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management in New York.

“It is saying if you have the potential to lose the tax reform package … the offset to that might be more stimulus to the economy which in effect could be positive for the markets.”

Analysts generally assume a Democrat-controlled Senate, which could usher in increased fiscal spending while raising the chances of tax hikes and tougher regulation, would be a net positive for economic growth globally and thus for most risk assets.

The Russell 1000 value index, which is heavily weighted toward cyclical sectors, rose 2.5%, while the growth index, with a large tech company weighting, shed 0.1%.

Increased risk of antitrust scrutiny of Big Tech companies pressured shares of Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Inc, Google-parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc to down between 0.5% and 1.7%.

Tesla Inc was the only major technology stock trading higher.

At 11:53 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 481.33 points, or 1.59%, to 30,872.93, the S&P 500 gained 41.22 points, or 1.11%, to 3,768.08, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 37.89 points, or 0.29%, to 12,856.85.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index jumped 2.5% to a record high.

Hopes of a vaccine-powered economic recovery in 2021 pushed Wall Street’s main indexes to record highs in late-December, with sectors that had previously lagged, including banks, industrials and energy, fuelling the rally.

Invesco Solar ETF gained about 10.6% on expectations that clean energy companies will benefit under a Democrat-controlled Congress, while bets on decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level lifted ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF up 9.3%.

AmerisourceBergen Corp gained 7.3% after the U.S. drug wholesaler said it would buy Walgreens Boots Alliance’s drug distribution business for $6.5 billion to expand in Europe. Dow component Walgreens rose 4%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.5-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 75 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 370 new highs and 13 new lows.

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