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Data: Money.net; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Health care stocks skyrocketed after Tuesday's election results indicated Republicans likely will maintain control of the Senate, all but assuring continued gridlock in both chambers of Congress.

The big picture: A Republican Senate means "the public option and direct government negotiation on drug prices are dead for at least the next two years," Spencer Perlman, an analyst at Veda Partners, wrote to investors Wednesday.

The winners: Health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical device firms scored the biggest stock gains.

  • The status quo has been lucrative for pretty much every sector of the health care industry, and the prospect of no major federal reform under Biden or President Trump would insulate employer coverage, which is the ultimate pot of gold.

Yes, but: The Supreme Court is about to hear a case that could invalidate the Affordable Care Act. If the conservative majority strikes down the entire law, the industry would face considerable upheaval after spending the past decade incorporating the law into their businesses.

  • Hospitals would be most affected by the Supreme Court invalidating the ACA: Millions of people would lose Medicaid and individual health coverage, resulting in more uncompensated care. Stocks of hospital companies like HCA Healthcare and Tenet Healthcare were down Wednesday.

Flashback: This same health care stock surge happened after the 2018 midterms guaranteed congressional gridlock.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
19 mins ago - Technology

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.