Stock Market Today: U.S. Capitol Under Attack, Dow Sets New Highs Anyway

Stocks soared early Wednesday on the back of a Democratic sweep in Georgia's runoffs, then maintained some of their ground despite a violent pro-Trump attack in Washington.

A violent pro-Trump mob surrounds the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday
(Image credit: Getty Images)

U.S. stocks' ascent to new highs Wednesday came in bizarre and stunning contrast to what unfolded in Washington, D.C.

Earlier in the day, Democratic control of the Senate – a thin possibility just a couple of months ago – suddenly seemed likely after strong showings by the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Tuesday's Georgia Senate runoffs (both were declared the winners of their respective races by Wednesday afternoon). Stocks responded with a sharp morning lift.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a last-minute attempt to keep Congress from accepting the presidential election results fizzled as Vice President Mike Pence demurred and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discouraged overturning the vote. But those proceedings were interrupted by a violent pro-Trump mob, who attacked federal police and breached the Capitol, which had to be put on lockdown.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which flirted with 31,000 momentarily, still finished with an 1.4% gain to a record 30,829, led by the likes of Caterpillar (CAT (opens in new tab), +5.7%) and Dow Inc. (DOW (opens in new tab), +4.8%). And the small-cap Russell 2000 vigorously overtook its old highs, ramping up 4.0% to finish at 2,057.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 finished 0.6% higher to 3,748.
  • The Nasdaq Composite pulled back 0.6% to 12,740, despite yet another big gain by Tesla (TSLA (opens in new tab), +2.8%).
  • U.S. crude oil futures finished up another 1.1% to $50.63 per barrel.
  • Gold futures sank by 2.3% to $1,908.60.
  • Bitcoin prices, at roughly $34,000 yesterday, neared $36,000 on Tuesday. (Bitcoin prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

Investing in the New Washington Landscape

President-Elect Joe Biden's policy proposals won't all be rubber-stamped, given a thin Senate majority (courtesy of the vice presidential tiebreaker), but the Senate swing does accelerate some investment trends that hinged on Democratic control of Washington.

"The growth-into-value rotation may be reinforced after the results of the Georgia Senate election amid the prospect of a higher fiscal stimulus bill and steeper yield curve, which would benefit banks and other non-tech companies," says David Bahnsen, chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group.

Indeed, many of our top picks in financials (opens in new tab), industrials (opens in new tab) and materials (opens in new tab) finished solidly higher Wednesday. Industries benefiting most from Democratic control, such as green energy (opens in new tab) and marijuana stocks (opens in new tab), also enjoyed robust gains.

Amid the change in political tides, we've taken another look at – and added to – our list of stocks poised to gain from a new White House tenant (opens in new tab). Read on as we explore 17 picks that could reap the benefits of various policies that might be put in place over the next few years.

Kyle Woodley was long Bitcoin as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley
Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

Kyle is senior investing editor for Kiplinger.com. As a writer and columnist, he also specializes in exchange-traded funds. He joined Kiplinger in September 2017 after spending six years at InvestorPlace.com, where he managed the editorial staff. His work has appeared in several outlets, including U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money, he has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, and he has been quoted in MarketWatch, Vice and Univision, among other outlets. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism.