Wall Street seeks safety of Big Tech bets as election hangs in the balance

(Reuters) – The United States’ big technology names led gainers on Wall Street on Wednesday, as investors sought the security of this year’s big stay-at-home corporate success stories in the face of a presidential election set to go down to the wire.

FILE PHOTO: The facade of the New York Stock Exchange is pictured in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Gains for Joe Biden in vote tallies in the swing states of Wisconsin and Michigan cooled initial selling of renewable energy, marijuana and other companies seen as potential beneficiaries of a sweeping Democrat victory.

Overall, futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 NQcv1 jumped 3.7%, with Dow 1YMcv1 and S&P 500 EScv1 futures also trading in positive territory in a volatile session.

Following are major movers as traders and investors in New York’s main stock indexes digested the results and President Donald Trump’s chances of beating Biden to win a second term.


Traditional energy companies, which could enjoy a lighter regulatory and tax environment under a second term for Trump, gained, with the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF XOP.P up 2.3%.

Stocks of solar energy-based firms such as First Solar FSLR.O, Enphase ENPH.O and JinkoSolar JKS.N traded between 3% and 4.7% lower.

The Invesco Solar ETF TAN.P dropped 3%, handing back some of a more than 40% gain from September lows, while the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF ICLN.O, another instrument representing the developing sector which Biden had made a key plank of his agenda, fell 2%.

“The fact that Republicans are likely to retain a Senate majority would make it virtually impossible for Biden (if he wins) to enact his major climate reforms,” said Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov.

“There is virtually no chance of a net zero emissions target passing through a Republican-controlled Senate.”


Major cannabis producers had surged after the vice presidential debate, when Biden’s partner on the ticket Kamala Harris said marijuana would be decriminalized at the federal level under their administration.

But with exit polls surprising markets, the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ.N slipped 1.7%.

Shares of Tilray TLRY.O as well as U.S.-based listings of Canada’s Canopy Growth CGC.N, Cronos CRON.O and Aurora Cannabis ACB.N fell between 3% and 6.3%.


Big tech companies, which have benefited from Trump’s softer stance on regulation and anti-trust policies as well as a tax cut that targeted U.S. big business, rose between 3% and 5.3%.

The Invesco QQQ ETF QQQ.O and Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund XLK.P were both up around 3%.

Microsoft MSFT.O, Intel INTC.O and IBM IBM.N rose between 0.4% and 2.2%, while FAANG stocks Facebook FB.O, Apple AAPL.O, Amazon AMZN.O, Netflix NFLX.O and Google GOOGL.O gained around 2.3% each.

“With a Trump presidency more likely than expected and a more evenly balanced Senate, any big change like higher capital gains tax or a legislation that regulates the tax more aggressively is less likely, and that’s why tech is doing better,” said TS Lombard’s head of strategy, Andrea Cicione.


The iShares US Aerospace & Defense ITA.Z was set for its best day in nearly three months, while the SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF XAR.P looked to post its biggest one-day gain since mid-July.

A second-term for the Trump administration is expected to mean continued higher spending on defense.

Contractors Northrop Grumman NOC.N, Lockheed Martin LMT.N and Raytheon RTX.N rose between 1.4% and 2.7%.


Private prison operators Geo Group GEO.N and CoreCivic Inc CXW.N gave up early gains as Biden, who has committed to ending the federal government’s use of private prisons, was reinstalled as the favorite to win the election by online betting markets.


Most of Wall Street’s big banks slipped.

“Now there will be a split Congress and, therefore, a lot more fiscal restraint and those expectations of higher inflation and high yields favoring banks and financials will have to be reassessed,” Cicione said.

JP Morgan JPM.N lost 1.6% while Bank of America BAC.N, Citi C.N and Wells Fargo WFC.N — listed under JP Morgan’s basket of stocks that should gain from a Trump victory — fell more than 1%.


Pfizer PFE.N, Merck & Co MRK.N, Biogen BIIB.O, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals REGN.O, Bristol Myers BMY.N and Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N all rose between 1.6% and 3.7%.

Analysts at SVB Leerink said a Trump win with a close Senate race was almost an ideal outcome for biopharma and that an effectively split Senate would likely shield the industry from any sweeping reforms.

Source: Read Full Article