The week on Wall Street

Stocks soared last week as investors anticipated that a split Congress would raise legislative hurdles to changing corporate taxes and adjusting regulatory oversight of big technology companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 6.87%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 tacked on 7.32%. The Nasdaq Composite index surged 9.01% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 7.65%.1,2,3

Bulls Take Charge

Coming off a poor close to October, stocks surged throughout election week, jumping higher in pre-election trading on bargain hunting and strong factory activity. The rally picked up steam as Americans went to the polls and shifted into overdrive Wednesday morning.

Investors were buoyed by Congressional results that indicate that the next president would have to work with a divided Congress. Though a divided Congress might result in a smaller potential stimulus package and continued gridlock, investors seemed to believe that was outweighed by a diminished risk of higher taxes, greater regulation, and policy initiatives that might be challenging to businesses.

Stocks took a pause to close out the week, even as a solid jobs report saw the unemployment rate fall a full percentage point to 6.9%.4

Yields Gyrate

Overlooked amid the powerful rally in stock prices was the swing in yields last week. Action in the bond market is important since 10-year Treasury yields are a benchmark for setting borrowing costs for businesses and they represent another view on the strength of the economic recovery.

The 10-year Treasury note rose as high as 0.942% during after-hours trading on election evening and dropped to 0.768% by the end of normal trading hours on Wednesday.5

Election Insights from Greg Valliere

Greg has over three decades of experience analyzing policy and politics providing regular commentary and insight into Washington for financial services and investment management clients globally, including specialized coverage of the Federal Reserve, economic policy and politics and has nearly 40 years of experience following Washington issues for institutional and retail investors.

He is widely quoted in U.S. media and specializes in coverage of the Federal Reserve, tax and spending issues, and politics. Greg is based in Washington, D.C.

About Greg Valliere

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