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U.S. stock markets opened slightly lower Wednesday after Donald Trump’s surprise win in the presidential election had originally sent stock futures down sharply, but by the end of the day, shares of most companies were significantly higher.
About 40 minutes into Wednesday’s session the S&P 500 index was down 0.5 percent after looking to trend down a whopping 1.6 percent an hour before trading started as investors tried to digest the election outcome and its implications.
The drop was less pronounced than earlier expected based on futures trading. Observers cited Trump’s victory speech, in which he vowed to unite the country, as one factor that may have somewhat reduced investors’ concerns.
When the dust settled, investors had bid the U.S. markets much higher than many experts had anticipated, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 257 on the day, or 1.4 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were each up 1.1 percent.
Most entertainment stocks soared along with the general market, a notable exception being Time Warner, as Trump has indicated his desire to squash the conglomerate’s pending $85 billion merger with AT&T.
Among Hollywood giants, Viacom shares were up 1.7 percent, Comcast shares were up 1.5 percent, 21st Century Fox’s stock was up 1.4 percent and Walt Disney’s stock was up fractionally. Sony and CBS, though, were down 1.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
“Trump is good for cable and telecommunications because the FCC will shift dramatically,” says Steven Birenberg of Northlake Capital Management. “Net neutrality likely goes out the window.”
Some of Wednesday’s bigger gainers in the media-entertainment sector included World Wrestling Entertainment (up 4.4 percent), Twitter (up 4.1 percent), E.W. Scripps Co. (up 3.6 percent) and AMC Entertainment (up 3.6 percent).
Salem Media Group, a broadcaster of conservative talk radio, surged 7.7 percent on Wednesday.
Some observers say Wednesday’s schizophrenic markets made sense, given traders traditionally have seen Republican candidates as better for stocks but viewed Clinton as the safe, status quo candidate. Markets also never like surprises, such as unexpected election results.
The market rallied in recent days amid polls that suggested a Clinton victory, with observers saying investors were concerned that Trump hadn’t spelled out his financial policy ideas in enough detail.
The U.S. gains on Wednesday followed market declines in various parts of the world overnight. In Japan, the Nikkei index had closed down more than 5 percent, for example.
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