Feared market crash doesn’t happen

Wall Street in New York City.

Wall Street in New York City.

New Orleans (CNN)- U.S. stocks welcomed President-elect Donald Trump by avoiding the crash many had feared.

Overnight, there was a knee-jerk panic in global markets as it became clear Trump was about to pull off a stunning upset by defeating Hillary Clinton, Wall Street’s favored candidate. Dow futures plummeted nearly 900 points at one point as investors expressed fear about the inherent policies brought on by a Trump White House.

But a sense of relative calm seemed to return to the markets by the opening bell on Wednesday morning. The Dow has been moving between minor gains and losses, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were down about slightly.

This is hardly a freakout. Market strategists said the lack of a panic is due in part to hope that Trump will focus on policies that can help the economy, instead of more disruptive ideas like scrapping NAFTA.

“The rhetoric that was talked about on the campaign trail was pretty scary. The nationalism and protectionism,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

“But there’s a big difference between what you say campaigning and what you do as president,” Hogan said.

Still, it’s clear that global markets are on edge. Asian stocks fell sharply, led by a 5% plunge for Japan’s Nikkei 225 after Japanese finance officials held emergency talks following the results. European markets slumped before recovering to trade flat in recent action.

The Mexican peso plummeted over 11% and at one point to a new all-time low against the U.S. dollar. Top Mexican finance officials said they would take steps to shore up the peso, but failed to lay out concrete details.

Trump’s tough talk on trade with Mexico is seen as a threat to the Mexican economy, which depends on heavily on trade with the U.S.

Gold, which tends to do well when investors are scared, rose sharply. Gold prices were up 2% to $1,300 an ounce, though they had been up even more overnight.

“This is a bit like Brexit,” said Ed Yardeni, president of investment advisory Yardeni Research. “The polls indicated a victory for the status quo. Instead, the vote came out with a radical alternative scenario.”

Indeed, just a day before the election, the Dow had roared nearly 400 points after the FBI again cleared Clinton in the email investigation. It was the latest evidence that investors were anticipating a victory from Clinton, who represented more stability than Trump.

“People were not positioned for this and that’s going to have some aftershocks,” said Michael Block, chief market strategist at Rhino Trading.

That means there could be dramatic moves in store for stocks that were seen as big winners or losers in a Clinton White House. For instance, shares of biotech and prison stocks — two industries Clinton had singled out — are set to rise sharply on Wednesday. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ET is up a whopping 8% and names like Celgene were up more than 11%.

Yardeni said Wall Street is anxiously awaiting more clarity on Trump’s policy goals, including ones like tax cuts and cutting regulation that could help the economy. He said others like scrapping trade deals and mass deportation are “harebrained and hopefully will be scrapped along the way.”

Bespoke Investment Group argued that a “conciliatory victory speech” from Trump at around 3 a.m. ET helped boost markets after they had “flat-out collapsed” as results were announced.

“Remember that campaign promises, especially outlandish ones, have a poor history of being implemented following elections,” Bespoke wrote.

The bond markets were also experiencing volatility. Even though Treasury rates typically fall when investors are nervous in a flight to safety, the 10-year yield actually rose on Wednesday to 1.95%.