(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to trim this week’s more than 7% jump on Friday, ahead of a jobs report expected to underline the scale of the economic challenge awaiting America’s next president.
FILE PHOTO: The statue of former U.S. President George Washington stands across the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) following Election Day in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
The Labor Department’s closely watched report is likely to show U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in five months in October in the absence of new fiscal stimulus and as COVID-19 infections surged.
“It’s not that the market is expecting something dramatic to happen, but just de-risking after a strong performance,” said Ingo Schachel, head of equity research at Commerzbank in Germany.
The benchmark S&P 500 .SPX is on course for its best week since April, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC has jumped 6.5% since the Nov. 3 election as the prospect of a policy gridlock in Washington eased worries about tighter regulations on companies.
Democrat Joe Biden took a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Georgia for the first time, but investors expect Republicans to keep control of the Senate.
Matt Sherwood, head of investment strategy at Perpetual in Sydney, said markets had already moved to price in a Biden presidency and a divided Congress.
“We can get all of the good things about a Biden presidency, such as stable leadership and foreign policy, without any of the bad things from the far Left of his party, such as taxation,” he said.
While market participants still widely expect a fiscal stimulus package after the election, the size of a deal reached in a divided Congress is likely to be much smaller than it would be under a Democrat-led Congress. That could pressure the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy further, analysts said.
The central bank on Thursday kept its loose monetary policy intact and again pledged to do whatever it can to sustain an economy crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shares of big U.S. banks slipped between 0.5% and 1.2%.
Cannabis-related stocks, which have been identified by analysts as potential winners under a Biden administration, were among the rare gainers in early premarket trading.
Graphic: S&P 500 five day periods after presidential elections –
Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Bernard Orr, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and SrirajKalluvila
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