Stocks soared to new highs Wednesday after voters delivered at least two more years of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, making costly or sweeping government initiatives in areas such as health care unlikely.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped by 96.53, the largest one-day point gain since March 18 and the sixth-biggest in history, to close at 6,177.71, shooting past Oct. 18’s record of 6,094.23.
Broader stock measures also surged, with several doubling the session’s gains over the last hour despite a weak bond market. The Standard & Poor’s list of 500 large companies and the New York Stock Exchange composite index both set new highs for the second straight session.
As expected, Bill Clinton won a second-term as president, but failed to sweep the Democratic Party to any congressional majorities in Tuesday’s races for the Senate or House.
“We have this period of indecision behind us and no dramatic changes, which is quite a relief for investors,” said Bob Dickey, managing director for technical analysis at Dain Bosworth in Minneapolis. “Things will go on as they have, at least for near term, which is pretty good.”
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by more than a 2-to-1 margin on the NYSE, where volume totaled 509.04 million shares as of 4 p.m., vs. 486.06 million in the previous session.
Some of the stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Wednesday:
Texas Instruments, up 4-1/4 at 53.
The Dallas-based chip maker has begun auctioning its defense-electronics holdings, valued at $2 billion or more, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Merck, up 3-1/2 to 79.
Eli Lilly, up 3-3/8 to 77-1/8.
Johnson & Johnson, up 2-1/2 to 52-1/2.
Abbott Laboratories, up 1-5/8 to 52-5/8.
Warner Lambert, up 2-1/2 to 68.
United Healthcare, up 3 to 40-1/8.
Drug makers and other health care concerns gained after Republicans, seen by investors as less likely to meddle with health care reform, retained control of both houses of Congress.
Conrail, up 1-3/8 at 93-5/8.
The takeover brawl for Conrail intensified with CSX sweetening the cash portion of its offer and Norfolk Southern saying it would take “every necessary step” to press its higher bid.
Intuit, up 7 at 36-1/2.
American Express was rumored to be interested in acquiring the financial software maker, the Dow Jones News Service reported. Both Intuit and American Express declined comment.
Teltrend, down 6-1/4 at 26-1/4.
The maker of telecommunications products expects to report profits below expectations for its first quarter ended Oct. 26 due to inventory consolidation at two of its major customers.