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U.S. stocks turn sharply higher after Trump victory

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, the morning after GOP contender Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

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 close.

“There will be some uncertainty” with a Trump victory, said Anoop Rai, a professor of finance at Hofstra University, speaking on Tuesday before the election. “But overall he is a businessman and his business acumen will take over.”

Rai added that after the Brexit vote, stocks plummeted and then recovered.

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

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 23.70 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,163.26 The Nasdaq composite index rose 57.58 points, or 1.1 percent, to 5,251.07.

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 like utilities and consumer-focused companies.

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 ultralow 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.

With David Reich-Hale

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