Wall Street remained divided on Thursday as investors tried to gauge the types of policies president-elect Donald Trump could enact.
The S&P 500 added 0.33%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.6%. The Dow hit a new record of 18,810 in intraday trading and was on track to close out with its best four-day gain in eight years.
Trump won the Electoral College on Tuesday evening but fell short of the popular vote. Markets had priced in a victory for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a result which would have carried less uncertainty over the types of policies she would implement.
"Our bottom line is that the equity rally from the overnight lows was largely anchored on the fact that the 2016 election actually played out according to historical norms," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex. "Americans voted, a clear winner emerged and his party converged around him, the loser conceded, and the sitting president gave the customary unity speech. That such a dramatic and divisive election was settled in such a prosaic way was very good news indeed. As for the coming days, we see equities continuing to move higher."
A selloff in tech stocks pulled the Nasdaq sharply lower. Industry leaders including Amazon (AMZN) , Apple (AAPL) , Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) were all deep in the red, while the Technology SPDR ETF (XLK) fell 1.3%.
Pharmaceutical stocks were in rally mode after Democrats failed to secure the presidency and Republicans maintained control of the House and Senate. Democrats would likely have reined in rampant price gouging from pharmaceutical companies. Merck (MRK) , Pfizer (PFE) and Sanofi (SNY) moved higher.
Pfizer also on watch on reports it is weighing a sale or spinoff of its consumer health business. The unit, which includes brands such as Advil, could be valued by as much as $14 billion.
Financials also benefited from a post-election rally as investors bet on reduced regulatory hurdles for the sector. Trump advisors are also reportedly considering naming JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon as the administration's Treasury secretary. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo (WFC) , Citigroup (C) , Bank of America (BAC) , and HSBC (HSBC) were all higher.
Crude oil prices fell on Thursday after production from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries hit another record high. The International Energy Agency found that OPEC output increased by 230,000 a day to 33.83 million barrels a day in October. OPEC currently has a target cap of 33 million barrels on production. OPEC are set to meet in Vienna later this month to discuss a possible production freeze.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed 1.4% lower at $44.66 a barrel on Thursday.
Jobless claims in the U.S. hit a one-month low in the past week, according to the Labor Department. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 11,000 to 254,000. The less-volatile four-week average rose by 1,750 to 259,750.
Fitbit (FIT) surged more than 3% on reports China-based firm ABM Capital had made a buyout offer worth $12.50 a share. The validity of the offer is under question, however. Fitbit has denied any offer was made.
ConAgra (CAG) completed its spin off of its Lamb Weston business. The company said it will now focus on boosting growth in its remaining brands, including Banquet and Healthy Choice. Its Lamb Weston brand was spun off into an independent company which now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the 'LW' ticker.
ConocoPhillips (COP) declined 2.3% after raising its share buyback program to $3 billion and announcing the sale of $5 billion to $8 billion worth of assets in its North American natural gas division. The oil company also said it would cut capital expenditures in 2017.
Shake Shack (SHAK) jumped 15% after lifting its full-year sales outlook. The burger chain anticipates 2016 sales between $264 million and $265 million, higher than a previous range of $253 million to $256 million. Shake Shack also reported a 40.2% increase in third-quarter sales, while same-store sales rose 2.9%.
SodaStream (SODA) traded at its highest level in two years after a better-than-expected quarter. The homemade soda company benefited from a renewed focus on sparkling water sales. Revenue from its sparkling water starter kits rose 23%.
Kohl's (KSS) jumped more than 7% after topping quarterly profit and sales estimates. The retail chain earned an adjusted 80 cents a share, a dime above expectations. Same-store sales fell 1.7%, as analysts expected, while revenue of $4.33 billion narrowly topped forecasts by $10 million. Kohl's also increased its stock repurchase program to $2 billion.
Mylan (MYL) rose 1% despite falling short of third-quarter earnings and sales estimates. The drugmaker reported a loss of 23 cents a share, a sharp reversal from profit of 83 cents a share a year earlier. The large loss was largely tied to a $465 million settlement with the Department of Justice. Adjusted earnings came in at $1.38 a share, missing estimates of $1.45.
Macy's (M) climbed more than 2% after announcing a series of real estate deals. The company has partnered with Brookfield to manage its current real estate portfolio, which includes a "pre-development plan" for 50 of its assets. The retail chain also missed third-quarter estimates and revised down its full-year sales outlook. Third-quarter same-store sales of 2.7% missed estimates of 2.8%.
Verizon (VZ) might rescind its $4.8 billion offer to buy Yahoo! (YHOO) , in part because of the damage resulting from the massive hack of Yahoo! customers, the Internet company said Wednesday in a regulatory filing. Yahoo! said there is "no assurance" the deal will actually go through. Yahoo! shares were more than 1% higher.