Investors were relieved to see that the elections went largely as they expected. The election results were especially good for health care and marijuana stocks plus several other industries and companies.
NEW YORK — The outcome of the U.S. midterm elections was good for the stock market in general, mostly because it didn’t produce any big surprises, but it was especially good for health-care stocks and several other industries and companies.
Investors were relieved to see that the elections went largely as they expected. Democrats won control of the House of Representatives while Republicans kept a majority in the Senate, as most polls had suggested.
It’s not clear how the divided Congress will work with Republican President Donald Trump, but if the possibilities for compromise and big agenda items seem limited, Wall Street is fine with that because it means politics is that much less likely to crowd out the performance of the strong U.S. economy. Historically markets have performed well after midterm elections and with split control of Congress.
The S&P 500 index climbed 58.44 points, or 2.1 percent, to 2,813.89 Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 545.29 points, or 2.1 percent, to 26,180.30. The Nasdaq composite climbed 194.79 points, or 2.6 percent, to 7,570.75.
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Here’s a look at industries and companies that were affected in various ways by the outcome of the election.
Health care: Health insurers, hospital operators and companies that run Medicaid health programs all rose Wednesday. Democrats’ victory in the House means Republicans won’t be able to pass legislation repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, a goal for the party ever since the law was passed during President Barack Obama’s first term. The bill expanded health-insurance coverage, and the election results mean more stability for insurers and more reimbursement for hospitals.
Voters in Idaho and Nebraska approved expansions of the federal-state Medicaid program, which provides benefits to poor and disabled people. Winning gubernatorial candidates in Maine and Kansas also support expanding Medicaid benefits to more people.
The stock of the largest U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth rose 4.2 percent and Anthem rose 6.6 percent. The largest hospital company, HCA, gained 4.7 percent. Medicaid services company Molina jumped 10.5 percent.
Marijuana stocks: Voters in Michigan passed a ballot measure to legalize marijuana while a similar measure in North Dakota was defeated. Missouri became the 31st state to approve marijuana for medical use, while Utah also voted on a medical-marijuana proposition. A marijuana-legalization measure in North Dakota was defeated.
The stocks built on their gains in the afternoon after the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and Sessions had promoted more aggressive enforcement of those laws. Tilray soared 30.6 percent and Canopy Growth climbed 8.2 percent.
Dialysis details: Dialysis services company DaVita surged after California voters rejected a ballot measure that would have capped dialysis clinics’ profits in an effort to improve patient care. Proposition 8 would have limited profits for dialysis clinics that provide vital treatment for people whose kidneys don’t work properly. Dialysis companies contributed $111 million to oppose the bill, while proponents said it would stop companies from cutting corners to make more money and would force them to spend more of their money on caring for patients.
DaVita gained 9.9 percent.
Fracking fallout: Oil drillers Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy rallied after Colorado voters rejected a measure that could have sharply reduced oil and gas drilling, including the method known as fracking, by requiring new oil and gas wells to be farther from occupied buildings than allowed under current law.
Anadarko gained 5.7 percent and Noble picked up 4.2 percent.
Growth: Big tech and retail companies made huge gains. The stocks aren’t expected to benefit from any specific vote or change in policy, but with the elections over, investors were willing to take bigger risks and bet that the global economy will keep growing. Amazon jumped 6.9 percent and Microsoft climbed 3.9 percent.