Stock market live Wednesday: Dow gains 300 as 'blue wave' looks unlikely, Big Tech jumps, Uber & Lyft surge

U.S. markets rallied on Wednesday as election results continued to roll in. Tech stocks outperformed, with Uber and Lyft receiving an extra boost from the result of a ballot initiative in California. For the most up to date information on the 2020 election, follow our election live blog here.

Wednesday's rally by the numbers

  • The Dow gained 367.63 points, or 1.34%, for its third-straight positive session
  • The Dow is down 2.42% year to date
  • The S&P 500 gained 2.21% for its third-straight positive session
  • The S&P 500 is up 6.58% year to date
  • The Nasdaq Composite gained 3.85% for its third-straight positive session
  • The Nasdaq is up 29.18% year to date
  • Russell 2000 small caps gained 0.05% for its third-straight positive session
  • The small cap index is down 3.2% year to date.

— Jesse Pound

Stocks post solid gains in post-election rally

The major market indexes finished sharply higher on Wednesday to continue a strong election week for Wall Street. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite led the way with a 3.9% gain. The Dow rose 370 points and the S&P 500 pushed 2.2% higher.

— Jesse Pound

Market off of highs in final hour of trading

With less than an hour to go in Wednesday's session, the market indexes were off their highs but still showed strong gains for the day. The Dow was up about 480 points, or 1.7%, while the S&P 500 had gained 2.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was still outperforming with a climb of 3.8%.

— Jesse Pound

Stimulus bill is 'job one' before end of the year, McConnell says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he wanted to see another stimulus bill passed before the end of the year.

"As I've said repeatedly in the last few months, we need another rescue package. Hopefully, the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election. And I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year," the Kentucky Republican said.

Negotiations on a follow-up stimulus bill the CARES Act ground to a halt in Washington before the election, with House Democrats pushing for a larger package and Senate Republicans arguing for a more targeted bill. McConnell defeated challenger Amy McGrath in Tuesday's election, NBC News projects, and Republicans have won several key Senate races.

"I think that's job one when we get back," McConnell said. "Hopefully we get a more cooperative situation than we've had."

— Jesse Pound, Thomas Franck

Investors sell green energy stocks after Election Day

Solar and renewable energy stocks were under pressure Wednesday as Republican wins in key Senate races cast doubt on the ability of a potential Biden administration to enact the candidate's green energy proposals. Shares of First Solar shed 7%, while SunPower slid more than 5%. SunRun and Plug Power also lost ground.

— Jesse Pound, Ari Levy

Tech outperformance is a "head-scratcher," investor says

Max Gokhman, head of asset allocation for Pacific Life Fund Advisors, said that the outperformance of major tech stocks on Wednesday was a "head-scratcher" even as Democratic hopes of taking the Senate dimmed.

Gokhman said that he could "rationalize" the broader market moving higher but that the tech rally seemed disconnected from the political environment in Washington.

"Our view is that the only bipartisan agenda item for 2021 is reining in Big Tech. It's just a question of why they're reining it in," Gokhman said.

With under two hours left in Wednesday's session, shares of Facebook had surged 8.6%, while shares of Alphabet and Amazon had added 6.4% and 5.9%, respectively.

— Jesse Pound

Election week rally erases last week's losses

Wednesday's post-election rally for the stock market was the third-straight day of gains for the major indexes and allowed them to recover their losses from last week's sharp sell-off. The Dow last traded up 680 points, or 2.5%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up 3% and 4%, respectively.

— Jesse Pound, Nate Rattner

MKM upgrades Wendy's to buy from hold after the company's earnings report

MKM upgraded Wendy's to buy from hold after the company's third-quarter earnings beat estimates on Wednesday morning. The firm said it believes the stock offers "upside" from current levels. "We view Wendy's as well positioned in the near term to capitalize on their menu flexibility across all dayparts, their digital efforts, and heightened operational focus, which we believe should support an eventual return to faster unit growth over the intermediate-term," analyst Brett Levy said. Shares of the company are down almost 4% in midday trading.

—Michael Bloom

All votes counted in Wisconsin, election official says

A Wisconsin official said that all votes in the state have been counted. NBC News has not made a call in the race and currently has Democratic candidate Joe Biden ahead by 20,697 votes with an estimated 97% of the vote in.

NBC News has projected Biden to win Maine. The uncalled states remaining are Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia.

— Jesse Pound

Stocks at midday

Stocks were up sharply in midday trading on Wednesday as investors grappled with a cloudy presidential election outcome. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was around its session highs, up 650 points. The S&P 500 gained 2.9%. The technology heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied more than 4% amid a surge in tech stocks.

— Maggie Fitzgerald

Stocks making the biggest moves midday

UberLyft — Shares of the ridehailing companies jumped more than 12% each after early voting projections suggest that Californians have decided both companies should be exempt from a labor law that aimed to make drivers employees instead of contractors.

Biogen — Shares soared more than 40% for the biotech firm after the Food and Drug Administration said Biogen has provided "substantial evidence of effectiveness to support approval" for its experimental Alzheimer's drug.

Wendy's — The fast food stock dropped 5.5% after the company's third-quarter revenue missed Wall Street expectations.

Clean Harbors — Shares of Clean Harbors surged more than 10% after the waste management company reported a big earnings beat.

Check out more companies making headlines in midday trading. 

Yun Li

Gun stocks plunge as election uncertainty continues

Vote counting is still underway in several battleground states but investors in firearm sellers appear to be preparing for greater gun control in the coming years. Smith & Wesson Brands falls 14%, Sturm, Ruger sheds close to 11% and Vista Outdoor drops nearly 8% in morning trading, while the S&P 500 is up 2.7%.

The swoon is doing little to dent the rally in these stocks this year, which was fueled by a surge in firearm demand. Smith & Wesson is still up 111% this year, Sturm, Ruger up 32% and Vista Outdoor up 160%.

--Leslie Josephs

Caterpillar falls more than 6%

Shares of farming equipment maker Caterpillar dropped more than 6% on Wednesday as investors rotated out of cyclical stocks and back into technology stocks. Caterpillar could be dropping as an infrastructure bill is still up in the air with the uncertain presidential election.

— Maggie Fitzgerald

Tech stocks start strong

Big Tech stocks are some of the biggest winners in early trading, along with Uber and Lyft. Here are some of the moves the biggest names have made so far.

  • Facebook: up 5.9%
  • Alphabet: up 3.6%
  • Apple: up 2.5%
  • Amazon: up 3.9%
  • Netflix: up 2.3%
  • Uber: up 11.3%
  • Lyft: up 11.7%

— Jesse Pound

Stocks open in the green the day after Election Day

U.S. equities opened in positive territory on the morning after the undecided presidential election. President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are locked in a tight race as several key states remain uncalled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 233 points. The S&P 500 gained 1.54%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 2.6%.

— Maggie Fitzgerald

Here are Wednesday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Nio, Roku, Spotify & more

  • Goldman Sachs added Advanced Micro Devices to the conviction buy list.
  • Citi raised its price target on Nio to $46.40 from $33.20.
  • Morgan Stanley raised its price target on Roku to $150 from $110.
  • CFRA upgraded Spotify to buy from hold.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

- Michael Bloom

Private payroll growth slows and misses expectations in October

Private companies added 365,000 jobs in October, according to ADP, well below what economists expected and the smallest addition since July. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected 600,000 additions.

The ADP report is the latest job market indicator to show a slowing recovery. The more widely watched October jobs report from the Labor Department is slated to be released on Friday, and economists expect it show growth of 530,000 non-farm jobs.

— Jesse Pound

Galaxy Digital Founder Mike Novogratz on election: 'Stocks are going to do well'

Galaxy Digital Founder Mike Novogratz told CNBC's "Squawk Box" he is surprised at how close the presidential election is shaking out to be.

"There was not a repudiation on all things Trump," Novogratz said, which he said he expected. "The Blue Wave didn't happen and at one point it looked like it was going to be a Red Wave."

Novogratz added that "the markets are liking this because you're going to have a more conservative Senate." "Stocks are going to do well. People are going to feel comfortable that the left wing of the Democratic party was also repudiated."

— Maggie Fitzgerald

DraftKings rises following sports betting election results

Shares of DraftKings jumped 4.1% in premarket trading after early election results showed strong support expanding sports gambling in several states, including Maryland. Penn National Gaming, which has a stake in Barstool Sports and its online sportsbook, was also moving higher in the premarket but on light volume.

— Jesse Pound

Investment plays for a potential Biden presidency and divided Congress

With the chances of a blue wave scenario dwindling, Wall Street will turn its attention to what stocks can perform best under a divided government. Some sectors that could see a boost include health care, tech and those with high exposure to international trade, according to strategists and analysts.

Pro subscribers can read more of the analysis here.

— Jesse Pound

Divided government not that bad for Wall Street, says Carlyle Group co-founder

Carlyle Group co-founder and co-executive chairman David Rubenstein told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that a divided government resulting from the uncertain presidential and Senate elections might not be a headwind for stocks.

"If the Republican control the Senate and the Democrats control the White House, that's not a terrible things for the markets," Rubenstein said Wednesday. "If you go back and look, the markets do better honestly when there's divided government."

Rubenstein did, however, say that equities could weaken if a stimulus package isn't passed in the period of time after the November election and before the beginning of the new Congress.

"If the stimulus isn't passed in the lame duck, I do think it's going to have some impact on the economy that won't be favorable," said Rubenstein. "The markets have anticipated a stimulus bill, we can debate the size of it, but I think if the stimulus bill isn't passed in the lame duck or early in the next administration I think the economy is going to have some real problems."

— Maggie Fitzgerald

Trump, Biden locked in tight race

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are locked in a tight race as several states remain uncalled. Wisconsin, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina are all either too early or too close to call, according to NBC News. Arizona has yet to be called, too, although NBC has Joe Biden leading there.

Trump was able to successfully defend big states such as Florida, Texas and Ohio, according to NBC News projections. Democrats were projected to hold onto control of the House, while the balance of power in the Senate remains in question. Republicans won key Senate races in Iowa and Montana, according to NBC.

Follow the latest election updates here.

Nasdaq 100 futures jump as Big Tech rises

Amid a volatile overnight trading session, Nasdaq 100 futures consistently outperformed Dow and S&P 500 futures, at one point even jumping 4%. Investors and traders cited various reasons for tech's outperformance, including the sector's history of providing earnings growth, as well as a potentially split Congress leading to more favorable policies.

Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet and Microsoft all gained more than 2% during premarket trading on Wednesday.

— Pippa Stevens

Uber, Lyft shares surge as key California measure is expected to pass

Shares of ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft jumped 10.2% and 12.7%, respectively, as a key California ballot measure was expected to be passed. Projections from NBC News showed most California voters favored Proposition 22, a measure that exempts Uber and Lyft from making drivers on their platform employees rather than contractors.

"In a historic election, California drivers sent a clear message that we want to be independent, and that what's best for us is a new approach that preserves our independence while providing new benefits," Bay Area rideshare driver Jimmy Strano said in a statement shared by Yes on 22, a committee funded by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash.

—Fred Imbert, Lauren Feiner

S&P 500 futures rise slightly, tech shares jump

Futures tied to the S&P 500 rose 0.6% early Wednesday morning after swinging between gains and losses in wild overnight trading as the presidential election remained a tight race in some states. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were flat. Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 2.4% after surging as much as 4% earlier in the session. Many investors are betting that a likely split Congress would avoid higher taxes and tighter regulation, an outcome that would be beneficial for high growth tech stocks.

Yun Li