For Wall Street, the 2020 election was fraught with risk and uncertainty.
Early on, candidates who promised to rein in the excesses of corporate America and tax the superrich, as part of their pledges to close the country’s wealth gap, were in contention to be the Democratic nominee for president.
More recently, the concern shifted to the potential for civil unrest, or an election with no clear outcome, both factors that would result in the kind of uncertain environment that investors and chief executives both loathe.
In the end, though, big companies and wealthy investors seem to have landed in a sweet spot: a more predictable White House under Joseph R. Biden Jr., now the president-elect, paired with a Republican-led Senate that can ward off higher taxes or other policy changes investors find unappealing. (At least for now, that is. Control of the Senate is a matter that won’t be settled until January after Georgia holds two runoff elections.)
“Financial markets don’t want risk or sudden changes,” said Charles Phillips, a longtime software executive who is raising a technology-investment fund and a supporter of Mr. Biden. “So the fact that he’s levelheaded and collaborative, and the fact that most likely we may have a Republican Senate — if that happens, it’ll limit what he can do,” he said.
Markets bolted upward last week as the national vote count appeared to point to that result. Over the weekend, after the race was called for Mr. Biden, some analysts said to expect more gains over the peaceful completion of the voting process, and to watch for an uptick in shares of companies Mr. Biden’s policy agenda is likely to benefit — including green-energy companies, producers of virus-testing materials and laboratories, and those in the infrastructure space.
Mr. Biden did win substantial financial backing from finance-industry donors, (about $74 million, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which overshadowed Mr. Trump’s support from those donors by a factor of four to one), and some expressed their excitement for their candidate.
“President-elect Biden offers enormous experience, a steady hand and an unparalleled ability to overcome obstacles,” said Jon Gray, the president of the giant investment firm Blackstone Group.
Other reactions from across Wall Street after the election was called were more measured.
Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of Citadel, said he was “relieved there is no social unrest,” David Solomon, the C.E.O of Goldman Sachs, and George Wallace, who runs Neuberger Berman, both pointed to the challenges Mr. Biden faces with the country in a pandemic and an economic crisis. Bill Ackman, who runs the hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, meanwhile, called on President Trump to “concede graciously and call for unity from all who have supported you.”
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