The hedges have been coming off today as the financial markets react to FBI director James Comey’s second letter on the FBI’s perusal of a trove of email’s on a laptop that was shared by Clinton aide Huma Abedin with her estranged husband (and former Democratic Congressman from New York) Anthony Weiner. It’s not so much that Wall Street loves Hilary Clinton as that the markets fear the unpredictability of Donald Trump. With Clinton Wall Street feels it knows what it will get during the next administration, especially with a Republican House (and maybe, still, a Republican Senate) around to oppose just about anything that emerges from the White House.
Today, the “fear index” the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), which tracks how much traders and investors are willing to pay for protection against a drop in the index, fell 16.57% to 18.78. The index climbed as high as 22.54 at the end of last week when the market was riven by fears that the FBI would find something in this newest batch of emails that could turn the election in Trump’s favor. The VIX had been as low 13.02 on October 24 when it looked like Clinton was opening up a solid lead.
Today the S&P 500 closed at 2131.52, ahead 2.22%. The NASDAQ Composite, which had been especially under pressure in the recent nine-day string of down days for the wider market days, climbed 2.37%.
The gain saw the S&P 500 bounce off the 50-day moving average at 2084 and at a close of 2131.5 today, the index is just below the 20-day moving average at 2147. A move up through that 200-day average could give the S&P some legs to the upside.
The picture at the NASDAQ Composite is more ambiguous. The index at 5166 today is still below the 50-day moving average at 5238 but at least it no longer threatens to break below the 200-day moving average at 4944. A move below that level looked likely last week and that would have increased the challenges to any upward move since it would have had to break above that 200-day moving average again.
As an indication that relief that Trump looks less likely to win the presidency today has pretty much overwhelmed every other market thought or trend, the IShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB), which sold off when Clinton’s lead looked solider on the theory that a Clinton administration would be tougher on drug prices than a President Trump would be, rose today by 3.6%. The Healthcare Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV), which had also been moving lower with Cinton’s growing lead, rallied today by 2.5%.
In other news U.S. crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate climbed 1.99% to break back above $45 a barrel at $45.54. The international Brent benchmark rose 1.56%.