Stocks Gain as Tech Strength Offsets Weak Banks: Markets WrapBy
Investors eye U.S. tax plan following election ‘bloodbath’
Oil and Treasuries lower, British pound drops on U.K. politics
U.S. stocks rose as a surge in technology shares more than made up for weakness in financial firms sparked by concerns that the Republican tax bill faces an uphill battle in Congress. The dollar fell with Treasuries and crude.
All of the major U.S. equity gauges were higher, led by the Nasdaq 100 Index. Meanwhile, the KBW Bank Index plunged for a fourth straight day on speculation about the viability of Trump’s business-friendly programs following Tuesday’s election results. KBW described the vote as a “bloodbath” that could push Congressional Republicans to strike a more populist tone on taxes.
“Democrats took the governor’s mansion in Virginia and New Jersey and picked up state legislative seats in almost every state with seats up for grabs yesterday,” Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, wrote in an email. “Off-year elections tend to be about turnout, and the party out of power tends to gain as their voters are usually the easiest to get to the polls. Nevertheless, it should serve as a reminder to Republicans in Congress their time to pass legislation is limited, especially if they undermine their base by failing to get anything done.”
However, some investors were more sanguine about U.S. taxes, noting that the stock market’s climb has been largely divorced from political wrangling.
“A lot of people want to tie the markets in these past months to these events but in reality it has little to do with it,” Brian Kraus, head of the investment consulting team at Hartford Funds, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “It’s due to strong earnings, low interest rates and global synchronized growth -- not what happened in the election in Virginia last night.”
Traders are also looking at geopolitics as Trump continues his tour of Asia with a central mission of rallying the world to stand up to North Korea. Calling out Russia and China by name, the president said Wednesday that all responsible nations must join forces to deny Kim Jong Un’s regime of support. He’s also expected to discuss trade with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
“In the big picture it’s all the exogenous events that could happen,” said Sean Simko, head of fixed income portfolio management at SEI Investments Co. “It’s something you see everyday in the headlines. You get North Korea bubbling up from time to time, we heard something in the past two days but prior to that it’s been about two weeks since we heard something from them. You have that going on, what’s going on in Spain, you have oil moving. It’s a lot of moving pieces right now, like a jigsaw puzzle.”
Saudi Arabian stocks rose, even as nervousness among regional investors about perceptions of risks stemming from the kingdom battered neighboring markets. The main equities benchmark erased losses of as much as 1.1 percent to finish Wednesday at its session high.
European shares slipped following disappointing results from Credit Agricole SA. The euro strengthened and core government bond yields nudged lower. The pound fell amid tensions in the U.K. government, where Prime Minister Theresa May is weighing whether to fire a cabinet member only seven days after her defense secretary quit in a sexual harassment scandal.
Terminal users can read more in our Markets Live blog.
Here are key events to watch out for this week:
- U.S. consumer sentiment probably cooled in early November from a more than 13-year high; the University of Michigan’s report is out on Friday.
- OPEC releases its World Oil Outlook.
- Argentina’s central bank unexpectedly raised borrowing costs. Mexico, New Zealand and Malaysia are also holding monetary-policy meetings this week.
- The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis resume talks.
- Earnings season continues with announcements from Walt Disney Co., Adidas AG, and Siemens AG. European financial companies set to report include Allianz SE and Zurich Insurance Group AG.
And these are the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 closed up 0.1 percent Wednesday, while the Nasdaq 100 rose 0.4 percent.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank less than 0.1 percent.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index jumped 0.2 percent to the highest in about 10 years.
- The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained less than 0.1 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.1 percent.
- The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.1598.
- The British pound decreased 0.4 percent to $1.3117.
- The Japanese yen rose 0.2 percent to 113.81 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries added two basis points to to 2.3307.
- Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at 0.326 percent, the lowest in two months.
- Britain’s 10-year yield decreased less than one basis point to 1.225 percent, the lowest in eight weeks.
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.7 percent to $56.81 a barrel.
- Gold rose 0.5 percent to $1,281.29 an ounce.
- Copper gained 0.4 percent to $3.10 a pound.
— With assistance by Cormac Mullen