How The Stock Market Reacted To Riots On Capitol Hill

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Forward-thinking investors on Thursday gave Wall Street a boost despite the chaos in Washington, D.C. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its second record close of 2021, climbing 211.73 points, or 0.7%, to close 31,041.13. The S&P 500 gained 55.65 points, or 1.6%, to close at 3,803.79, while the Nasdaq rose 326.69 points, or 2.6%, to close at 1,3067.48 — both their first records of the year.

It is not that financial movers are so optimistic that they will overlook a violent riot at the Capitol building. But the investment world is generally more interested in long-term trends, according to experts.

“I think most feel this is more of a one-off situation, that this is an isolated event, as opposed to some sort of bigger movement—and because of that, S&P we can look to the new government and to stimulus,” Peter Tchir of Academy Securities told CNBC.

Many agree with Tchir, even while recognizing the irony. They also have optimism after Democrats on Wednesday took control of the White House, Senate and House.

“It is a bit hard to reconcile all the different forces at play, but ultimately it seems like the election [in Georgia] is carrying the day,” said Jack Miller, Baird’s head of trading.

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” had his own take. “It was a horrible day for democracy, but was it a horrible day for capitalism?” he rhetorically asked on his program. Cramer argued that anyone who would sell stocks because of a riot doesn’t get it.

Although the ups and downs of the stock market can be a fickle barometer of the economy, Wall Street effectively shrugged to what many consider a vile attack — even a poorly executed attempted coup — on the very foundations of representative democracy.

Talk of removal of President Donald Trump through the 25th Amendment notwithstanding, both the Wednesday and Thursday trading days ended as a pretty decent day for investors.

Simply stated, investors are more focused on the future than what is happening right now, and presumably Wall Street didn’t expect that Wednesday’s insurrection — despite its violence and assault on democracy — to be sustainable enough to hurt business.

What’s more, Wednesday also saw two Democratic victories in the U.S. Senate, bringing more certainty to President-elect Joe Biden’s economic-stimulus agenda and planned infrastructure improvements, even if that also may mean new taxes. The promise of new clean-energy jobs likely helped boost stocks in the industrial sector.