The S&P 500 is still rallying.
Despite an armed insurrection in Congress intended to disrupt the certification of the U.S. presidential election results, global markets are in the green on Thursday morning, as confidence that further economic stimulus is on its way appeared to overrule what many have called the most severe threat to American democracy since the Civil War.
The S&P 500 was up 0.57% on Thursday ahead of the New York trading day, while the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.44%. Both were building on a close at all-time highs on Wednesday as the rampage on the Capitol by a group of Trump supporters moderated—but did not stop—markets from gaining ever more ground, adding to a pandemic-era rally that has frequently appeared to defy gravity.
That momentum appeared to be off the back of Democrats’ election of two senators in the runoff in Georgia on Wednesday, analysts said, linking the confirmation of a Democrat-controlled Senate squarely to the prospect of more stimulus funds being injected into the economy.
“The Senate results mean that the so-called blue wave scenario has finally come about, albeit via a tortuous journey, resulting in a slim Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress,” said Jim Reid, a research strategist at Deutsche Bank. “The main implication being the prospect of a substantially larger U.S. stimulus package once President-elect Biden comes to office, and giving further support to the reflation trade.”
Confident that the storming of Congress would not ultimately derail the transfer of power, investors gained optimism from the shows of “bipartisanship” on the Hill, with Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell giving a speech to urge acceptance of the result earlier in the day, said UBS chief economist Paul Donovan in a note Thursday morning.
“Any meaningful legislation (including fiscal stimulus) will require collaboration with Senate Republicans, so bipartisan signals matter to investors,” he wrote.
Biden’s election to President was officially certified early Thursday morning.
There were other signs that markets were shrugging off the storming of Congress: Gold, a typical safe haven commodity, was largely flat Thursday morning, while U.S. Treasury yields—often used as a signal of declining risk—were rising slightly, and the dollar was also strengthening against other major currencies.
The unruffled response from markets came in marked contrast to the response from American business leaders, many of whom issued striking condemnations of the violence and President Trump’s support and encouragement of the mob.
CEOs at Microsoft, Apple, and Pfizer, among others, decried the attack on American democracy, while the National Association of Manufacturers referred to it as “mob rule” and placed the blame squarely on the President and the elected officials who had supported him.