By Hilary Russ and Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Most major stock markets rose on Wednesday, led by a strong rally on Wall Street, after the outcome of the U.S. midterm congressional elections drove expectations of political gridlock in Washington, boosting risk assets and weighing on the dollar.
Tuesday’s vote delivered a split U.S. Congress, with Democrats seizing control of the House of Representatives and Republicans strengthening their majority in the Senate.
U.S. oil prices fell after U.S. crude output hit another record high.
While gridlock could hamper President Donald Trump’s political and economic agenda, few analysts expect a reversal of the tax cuts and financial deregulation measures that have already been enacted.
That view helped Wall’s Street three major equity indexes rally, with traders piling into technology and healthcare stocks. [.N]
“I don’t think any of Trump’s agenda that he’s already accomplished gets unwound. That was the main point of concern for investors,” said Robert Phipps, a director at Per Stirling Capital Management in Austin, Texas. “We’ve got a relief rally because the market got exactly what it expected.”
Still, a split Congress could hamper Trump’s push for a further round of tax cuts and deregulation, measures that have supercharged the U.S. economy, stock markets and the dollar.
After the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 545.29 points, or 2.13 percent, to 26,180.3, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 58.44 points, or 2.12 percent, to 2,813.89 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 194.79 points, or 2.64 percent, to 7,570.75.
Cannabis-related shares rallied as voters in several U.S. states approved ballot initiatives approving marijuana use, while the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has openly opposed legalization, gave investors a further boost.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 1.06 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 1.53 percent.
The U.S. Federal Reserve began a two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, and it is expected to keep interest rates unchanged. A rate hike in December is largely priced in.
By Wednesday afternoon, the focus was turning to the Fed and the decision of its policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee expected at the close of its meeting on Thursday.
“I think traders are squaring positions ahead of tomorrow’s FOMC decision,” said John Doyle, vice president of dealing and trading at Tempus Consulting.
The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.12 percent, with the euro
U.S. Treasury yields fell, but cut their decline after a record high amount of 30-year government bonds was met with weak demand.
The Treasury yield curve touched its flattest in over a month
US dollar, Treasury yields fall after mid-term elections – https://tmsnrt.rs/2PdgZRY
Attention will now focus on Trump’s hard line on trade tariffs, which he can impose without congressional approval. That keeps alive worries about a trade war between China and the United States.
Chinese shares <.SSEC> closed 0.7 percent lower, while Hong Kong stocks ended up 0.1 percent. <.HSI> [EMRG/FRX]
Emerging market stocks rose 0.57 percent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> closed 0.61 percent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei <.N225> closed down 0.3 percent.
The dollar’s weakness lifted other currencies. Sterling
The Mexican peso
The Mexican peso lost 0.74 percent versus the U.S. dollar, recently trading at 19.86.
U.S. oil prices continued a recent slide after domestic inventories rose more than expected, adding to over-supply concerns as U.S. crude output hit another record high. [O/R]
(Reporting by Hilary Russ and Rodrigo Campos; Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Noel Randewich in San Fransisco, Kate Duguid, David Gaffen and Richard Leong in New York, Sujata Rao in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)