The major domestic equity indexes rose 2 percent on Wednesday, led by the technology and healthcare as the Street breathed a sigh of relief following the elections and made bets that a divided Congress could be good news for equities.
Democrats won control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, while President Donald Trump’s Republican party expanded its Senate majority, pointing to the likelihood of political gridlock in Washington.
Two of the best performing sectors were technology and healthcare with both indexes gaining 2.9 percent. The consumer discretionary sector climbed 3.1 percent, spurred by a 6.9 percent rise in Amazon. Amazon provided the single greatest impetus to the S&P 500.
The CBOE Volatility Index finished down 3.55 points at 16.36, its lowest close in about a month.
While a divided Congress will make it harder for Trump to push through new legislation such as additional tax cuts, investors were not expecting a reversal of tax cuts and deregulation already enacted under Trump.
In addition, Democratic control of the House means that Trump will have a harder time gaining support for efforts to impose new regulations on Amazon.
At the same time various sectors could be at risk for additional regulatory scrutiny.
Even after Wednesday’s gains, the S&P 500 was 4 percent below its record close in September, as investors kept their eyes on rising interest rates and the U.S.-China trade war.
The Federal Reserve began a two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, but no rate increase was expected when it releases its policy decision on Thursday. The Fed is expected to raise rates in December, at its last policy meeting of the year.
Humana, Anthem and UnitedHealth Group rose to record highs as voters in three states approved expanding Medicaid programs for low-income people.
DaVita was up 10.9 percent after California rejected a proposal to limit the rates that dialysis clinics can charge commercially insured patients.
Anadarko Petroleum rose 5.7 percent and Noble Energy gained 4 percent after Colorado voters rejected a tougher rule on oil and gas drilling, which spurred shares of companies operating in the state.
Approximately 8.0 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 8.64 billion share average over the past 20 sessions.