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Traders watching for 'Trump trade' follow-through in stocks, bonds

Traders will be looking for further guidance on what a Trump presidency could mean for markets, after the 'Trump trade' resulted in Wednesday's explosive turnaround in stocks and big move up in bond yields.

"The market's response to the Trump triumph is as surprising as the triumph itself," said Jack Ablin, CIO of BMO Private Bank.

After a near 800 point drop in futures early Wednesday morning, the Dow opened modestly lower and then moved higher and didn't look back. It closed Wednesday at 18,589, up 256. The S&P 500 gained 1.1 percent to 2,163, and the small cap Russell 2000 rallied 3 percent. Bond yields also had a big move. The 10-year note yield saw its biggest one day jump since 2011, rising to 2.06 percent by late Wednesday.

Trump was elected with a Republican sweep of Congress, in a cliffhanger election that ended in the wee hours of Wednesday, when Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded. Stock futures swung back and forth, before selling off sharply to limit down. But by the Wall Street open, the tone of the market had dramatically improved.


"It was an orderly sort of trade. Small caps outperformed larger caps. Domestic outperformed international. Interest rates — this was a blood bath in the bond market. That was dramatic," said Ablin. "It was far from what I suspected. I thought it would be mostly point-and-click orderly sell-off today. It was an orderly trade all day."

It was widely expected that if Trump won, there would be chaos in markets since Wall Street had been seemingly expecting a Clinton win and was more comfortable with her. While there's still an edge of uncertainty, markets chose to focus on elements from Trump's acceptance speech where he discussed spending on infrastructure projects that could boost growth.

That drove industrials and infrastructure stocks higher, and raised speculation about inflation. That helped drive bond yields higher, as well as bank stocks.

"It sounds like investors are willing to take a 'wait and see' between now and inauguration day. You want to see who he is bringing in to policymaking positions, as a starting point," said Ablin. "This is a long-dated pendulum and it has a lot more to play out."

Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas, said the Cabinet members will be more important in a Trump administration. "The personnel from this administration is going to be far more important than the previous administration. Barack Obama was a policy guy and he set direction. Donald Trump is a big vision guy," said Clifton. He said important jobs will be the secretaries for Treasury and trade.

He also said the market's honeymoon with Trump could give way. He said the market tends to sell off right away, then goes up and then sells off again once the new president moves into the White House.

"Trump has won and the lame duck session of Congress is starting. The market is going to focus on what can Trump do? Is he going to act on trade policy by executive order?" said Clifton. Another focus may be who he intends to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen with in a year from now, or will she leave early.

Citigroup economists noted there are risks from a Trump presidency. "These include international trade wars that might result in higher inflation, more uncertainty, reducing consumer spending and eroding business confidence. These remain tail risks, for now," they wrote.

Trump is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on Thursday.

For markets Thursday, weekly jobless claims are reported at 8:30 a.m. ET and the Federal budget is released at 2 p.m. There are several retailers reporting earnings, including Kohl's Macy's, and Nordstrom. Earnings are also expected from Disney, AstraZeneca, Siemens, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Petrobras, Blue Buffalo and SodaStream.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is scheduled to speak at 9:15 a.m.