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U.S. Stock Futures Rise as Congress Certifies Biden’s Presidency

Katherine Greifeld
·3 min read

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures rose as Joe Biden was formally recognized by Congress as the next U.S. president after police cleared out a mob that stormed the Capitol.

Contracts on the S&P 500 advanced 0.6% as of 9:01 a.m. in London. The U.S. Capitol was declared secure on Wednesday evening in Washington after law enforcement descended on it to quell chaos that had sent lawmakers scurrying for safety just two weeks before Biden is to be sworn in. Nasdaq 100 contracts climbed 0.7% and those on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.4%. European stocks added 0.3%, led higher by cyclical sectors.

The Democratic president-elect’s victory was sealed after House and Senate members fended off a final round of objections to the Nov. 3 election outcome raised by a handful of Republicans. President Donald Trump today in a statement pledged “an orderly transition” of power on Jan. 20.

The cash market pared a gain that reached 1.5% on Wednesday after Democrats won control of the Senate, possibly unleashing federal spending that will boost the economy. It ended higher by 0.6%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record. Nasdaq 100 Index contracts added 0.3%.

Images of unrest in Washington did little to distract investors from their view that the Democratic victories that gave Biden’s party control of Congress promised stronger aid for the economy. That sparked a rotation out of high-flying technology shares into stocks more closely tied to the economy’s performance, like energy producers, banks and travel companies. Ten-year Treasury yields topped 1%.

“The real impact for markets of the Dems winning the Georgia run-off is that cross-asset price action is signaling as unquestionably reflationary,” Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi, wrote in a note. “The most optimistic take is that a razor-thin effective Senate majority curbs tax hikes, both corporate and personal, leaving markets to focus on higher spending that would be consistent with a UST curve bear steepening, an ongoing rally in industrial metals, a rally in EM equities, and a weaker USD.”

Banks in the S&P 500 rose 4.4% Wednesday, the most since Nov. 9 when Pfizer Inc. unveiled positive vaccine results. They benefit from higher Treasury yields that allow them to charge higher lending rates. Materials and energy producers added at least 3% on speculation demand for capital projects will rise, while tech shares fell 1.8% on concern the threat of inflation could make stretched valuations look worse.

U.S. 10-year breakevens -- a market gauge of inflation expectations over the next decade -- topped 2% this week for the first time since 2018, having gained in each of the last three months. While the pandemic is still raging with the rollout of vaccines in the early stages, the risk is that further signs of inflationary pressure could start prompting bets on Fed rate hikes.

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