US and European equity markets welcomed the likely victory of Democrats in Georgia Senate races that will boost chances of the incoming Biden administration passing stimulus measures.
In the US state of Georgia, two Democratic candidates claimed victory in runoff elections that would give the party control of both houses of Congress and make it easier for Biden to push forward with plans for fiscal stimulus.
Ahead of the Georgia vote, markets had been anxious over the possibility that a Democratic sweep would lead to major tax increases and other big changes, but investors have also been concerned about government support for the economy.
US infrastructure stocks rallied given Biden’s plans for spending on rebuilding the US economy, with Caterpillar climbing 6 percent and United States Steel jumping 14 percent.
The Dow was up 1.7 percent in late morning trading, with the broader S&P 500 showing a gain of 1.2 percent.
“Though yet to be confirmed, it is looking increasingly likely that the Democrats have won both Senate runoff races in Georgia, setting the stage for a blue upper chamber and, most importantly, a fat ol’ stimulus package,” said market analyst Connor Campbell at Spreadex.
“It was the prospect of this that not only lit a fire under all the major Western indices, but super-charged the FTSE’s banking stocks,” he added.
Gains of over 9 percent for HSBC and Standard Chartered helped London’s FTSE 100 index to a gain of 3.5 percent for the day.
Frankfurt gained 1.8 percent to close above 13,800 for the first time.
Paris rose 1.2 percent.
While a solid recovery will benefit banks, there are expectations that more stimulus will lead to higher inflation and interest rates, which will also boost earnings for banks.
The yield, or rate of return for investors, on 10-year US Treasury debt rose above 1.0 percent for the first time in nine months.
Oil prices continued to rise after news that Saudi Arabia will cut its output by a million barrels by the end of March.
The Saudi announcement on Tuesday sent the US benchmark WTI above $50 a barrel for the first time in 11 months.
London’s FTSE 100 was boosted by gains of over 6 percent for BP and Shell.
Oil traders are nonetheless concerned about global demand, given that new coronavirus-related lockdowns which could last months in some countries, were likely to stunt travel again.
A surge in Covid cases globally has forced several governments to reimpose lockdowns and other strict containment measures.
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin briefly hit a record of $35,841 on booming investor demand, though it later eased back to around $34,900.
London – FTSE 100: UP 3.5 percent at 6,8 points (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.8 percent at 13,891.97 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.2 percent at 5,630.60 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.9 percent at 3,616.23
New York – Dow: UP 1.7 percent at 30,904.59
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 27,055.94 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 27,692.30 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,550.88 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2294 from $1.2294 at 2150 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 103.33 yen from 102.72 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3581 from $1.3622
Euro/pound: UP at 90.44 pence from 90.23 pence
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.0 percent at $50.44 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.4 percent at $53.34 per barrel
Markets See Green After Blue Wave In Georgia The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ International Business Times.