Amid the ongoing US election uncertainty, investors stuck to a tried-and-tested play during this pandemic era. With neither Joe Biden nor President Donald Trump having yet attained the 270 electorate votes needed to claim an outright win, market participants flocked to US tech counters once more.
This market action helped propel the FXTM Social Media Index to a new record high, after posting a 6.3 percent gain on Wednesday. That bested the Nasdaq 100’s 4.4 percent advance and the S&P 500’s 2.2 percent climb for the day. The FXTM Social Media Index’s record-setting performance was enabled by the stellar gains in its constituents:
- Facebook: 8.3%
- Google: 6%
- Twitter: 2.5%
- Snapchat: 2%
And with Nasdaq futures edging into the green at the time of writing, that could translate into further gains for the FXTM Social Media index on Thursday as well.
Big Tech rejoices at divided US government
Investors continue to be gripped by the latest developments surrounding the US presidential elections, with former vice-president Joe Biden appearing closest to snatching victory. Having just won Michigan and Wisconsin, he is now estimated to be just six electoral votes short of the winning 270.
Yet, as noted within hours after the polls closed, the expected “blue wave” had evaporated. This sets up a challenging path for any new policies to be pushed through the chambers of the US government. A Biden administration, if he does indeed clinch victory, would be met with stiff opposition from a Republican-controlled Senate. In such a scenario, the heightened regulatory pressures that Democrats wish to impose on Big Tech (including Google, Facebook, Twitter) would first have to overcome stern opposition from across the political divide. As investors did the math as to who will occupy Capitol Hill over the coming years, tech stocks were able to punch higher at the thought that further scrutiny by lawmakers may be blunted by a divided US government.
At the same time, tech megacaps are set to enjoy pandemic-related tailwinds for a while more. With the US registering 100,000 cases in a single day, physical economic activities are not expected to be restored to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, which should ensure heightened reliance on tech.
Standby by tumultuous Thursday?
Still, we must stop ourselves from getting carried away; the 2020 US presidential elections has not yet reached a conclusive end. Should President Trump’s legal onslaught gain traction and manage to put any state’s electoral votes into doubt, having already launched lawsuits in three different states, that may still spark a bout of risk aversion and prompt global equities to unwind some of the gains in the week so far.
Beyond the US elections, the Federal Reserve is due to make a policy decision later today, although the FOMC is expected to leave its policy settings unchanged. The weekly US jobless claims is expected to show stubbornly elevated levels of over 700,000 Americans claiming unemployment benefits for the week.
Still, barring any shocks out of the Fed or the US economic data releases, the latest developments pertaining to the presidential race are expected to hold court over global market sentiment as investors keenly await the declaration of the official winner.