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Donald Trump and the Strange Bedfellows of the NYSE

Two companies. Both sell beds. One stock surged on the election news. One plummeted.

By noon on Wednesday, after Donald Trump had claimed victory in the race for the White House, two companies selling the same thing had emerged as the best and worst performers on the NYSE. Both sell beds, but for very different ends.

The stock exchange's worst performer at midday was Community Health Systems. Its biggest winner was Corrections Corp. of America. Their fortunes were a tale of care and punishment.

Community Health owns more U.S. hospital beds than any other publicly traded company. Its stock had fallen more than 25 percent by noon. Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare. The company was in a back-and-forth duel with rival Tenet Healthcare to avoid the NYSE's very bottom slot.

Corrections Corp. was up more than 40 percent. It leases private prison beds to the government. Its share price had plummeted after the Obama administration in August said it would phase out the use of privately owned cells, the most visible outgrowth of what only recently had been considered a new "national consensus" on mass incarceration.

Trump has promised not only tougher law-and-order policies, despite declines in violent crime over the past 30 years, but also to deport up to 11 million people. Even if he doesn’t succeed in deporting them all, thousands, maybe millions, will need to be jailed during deportation proceedings. One conservative group has estimated that carrying out his pledge would cost $600 billion.

On the same day the stock soared, the company, which has drawn the ire of activists over U.S. incarceration policies, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to formally change its name. It is now known as CoreCivic Inc. The plan, or "rebrand," as the parlance has it, had been announced in August, according to the Nashville Business Journal.

The chairman of Corrections Corp. might have seen the Trump victory coming. Mark A. Emkes, a former official in the administration of Tennessee's Republican governor, Bill Haslam, bought 10,000 shares of his own company's stock four days before the election, according to an SEC filing. 

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