Stock futures traded slightly as the overnight session began Wednesday evening as traders looked beyond the unrest in Washington and ahead to the policy implications of the newly elected Congress.
Contracts on the Dow gained more than 50 points, or 0.2%, shortly after 6 p.m. ET, with the moves higher coming even after protesters supporting President Donald Trump swarmed inside the Capitol Building and forced the building to lock down and lawmakers to evacuate. Officials said the Capitol was “secure” as of Wednesday evening, according to the Associated Press.
President-elect Joe Biden called the event an “insurrection” in a video address, as the turmoil grew increasingly violent and disrupted lawmakers’ process of certifying the electoral votes from the presidential election. Business leaders including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Jefferies CEO Rich Handler reportedly condemned the violence.
Trump told the protesters to “go home” in a video address, but reiterated baseless claims that the “election was stolen from us.” A curfew that will last until Thursday morning took effect in Washington, D.C., at 6 p.m. ET, as called upon by the mayor of city.
Despite the turmoil, the Dow ended at a record closing high on Wednesday, and the S&P 500 gained 0.6%.
“When I look at the market reaction here … there is a recognition here that there is a certain inevitability in terms of what happens on January 20,” Raymond James analyst Ed Mills told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday. “It’s not as if there’s a situation based upon any protest that keeps Donald Trump as president at this point.”
“The market is more focused on, what are the policies of the next two years with the Congress that was voted in with the final election last night? What are the policies over the next four years?” Mills added. “They’re looking at COVID, they see vaccines being distributed. They are looking at a reopening.”
Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press reported Democrat Jon Ossoff was the winner of the second Georgia Senate runoff election, defeating incumbent Republican David Perdue. Democrat Raphael Warnock was called as the victor of the Senate race against incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler earlier in the day. This gave Democrats a very narrow majority in the chamber when considering Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s ability to cast tie-breaking votes.
Financial, materials and energy stocks jumped on Wednesday as prospects of a Democratic sweep appeared increasingly likely, given assumptions that a unified Democratic government would advance more virus-relief stimulus and increase infrastructure spending. Cannabis and clean-energy stocks including electric-vehicle makers also gained on optimism for more policies amenable to these industries under a Democratic House and Senate.
“Our U.S. economists have indicated that a Democratic Senate would likely lead to another large fiscal stimulus package, possibly including some priorities of the new administration such as infrastructure,” Deutsche Bank economists said in a note Wednesday. “They see that as a material upside to their GDP forecast, which they currently see rising 4.3% Q4/Q4 in 2021.”
6:06 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures open mostly higher
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:06 p.m. ET Wednesday:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,753.25, up 12.75 points or 0.34%
Dow futures (YM=F): 30,793.00, up 73 points or 0.24%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,672.5, up 55.75 point or 0.44%