Stocks surge following Trump victory; bond prices tumble

Associated Press

It turns out that President Donald Trump may not be bad for the stock market after all.

Asian stock markets stumbled shortly after Trump overtook Hillary Clinton in the presidential vote count early Wednesday. From there, Wall Street appeared set for a slump of its own, only it never materialized.

Global financial markets soon steadied as Trump delivered an acceptance speech pledging to unify a deeply divided nation.

And despite wavering in the first hour of trading, U.S. stocks rallied the rest of the day, lifting the Dow Jones industrial average within 50 points of a record high close.

“He took on a remarkably conciliatory posture,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank. “That went a long way to demonstrating, perhaps for the first time or very few times, his presidential disposition, and gave a greater sense of calm. That’s what had an early reprieve in the markets.”

The Dow ultimately climbed 256.95 points, or 1.4 percent, to 18,589.69. The average was briefly up 317 points.

Wall Street had largely seen Clinton as more likely to maintain the status quo, while viewing Trump’s polices as less clear. Investor anxiety ratcheted up in recent weeks as the race tightened, leading to a nine-day slump for the market that ended Monday. By Election Day, the market had mostly bounced back and priced in a Clinton win.

On Wednesday, faced with a president-elect Trump, traders piled into health care and financial stocks – sectors seen as likely to struggle under a Clinton administration. They also sold off safe-haven stocks such as utilities and consumer-focused companies.

Financial companies led the gainers, surging 4.1 percent. Banks and other financial stocks tend to benefit from higher interest rates and less government regulation, two things investors anticipate could happen during a Trump presidency.

Health-care companies climbed 3.4 percent. The sector has taken a beating this year, reflecting in part fears that a Clinton presidency would lead to curbs on drug pricing increases that could hurt drugmakers and biotechnology companies.

Utilities were down the most, sliding 3.7 percent, followed by consumer-focused stocks, down 1.3 percent.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn was among those who seized on Trump’s win to play the market. The billionaire told Bloomberg that he put about $1 billion “to work” on stocks early Wednesday.

Investors hope Trump plans for infrastructure spending, tax cuts and lighter regulation will benefit the economy. They expect those spending plans will call for issuing more debt.

A sell-off in bonds sent prices tumbling, driving the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to 2.08 percent from 1.86 percent late Tuesday. That’s the highest the rate has been since January. That yield is a benchmark used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including home mortgages.

Traders are selling bonds to hedge against the possibility that interest rates, which have been ultra-low for years, could rise steadily again under a Trump administration, said Tom di Galoma, managing director of trading at Seaport Global Securities.

“People are starting to believe that Donald Trump is good for the economy, which makes him not so good for the bond market,” di Galoma said.

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