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Photo: Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images

Stocks jumped on Wednesday — the tech-centric Nasdaq closed up 3.8%, outpacing the S&P and Dow's gains — with the presidential race up in the air and Democrats' hopes of gaining control of the Senate fading.

Why it matters: Alongside health care stocks, tech companies that helped propel stocks back to record highs are leading the market as full results from the 2020 election remain unknown.

What they're saying: "Investors appear to be pricing in increasing odds of a divided government, which may take major tax increases and some regulatory risk off the table," Ryan Detrick, an analyst at investment firm LPL Financial, wrote Wednesday morning.

The big winners: Tech and health care/pharma stocks.

  • Shares of Facebook rose 8%, while Google-parent Alphabet and Amazon jumped 6%.

Cigna, Anthem and UnitedHealth were among the best performing stocks in the S&P 500 and saw shares soar by double digits.

  • Our thought bubble via Axios' health care business reporter Bob Herman: Investors are betting that Biden plus a divided Congress equals status quo, which has been very profitable.
  • But: Hospital stocks fell because they have the most to lose if the Supreme Court invalidates the Affordable Care Act (and a divided Congress wouldn't allow Biden to come up with an ACA replacement), per Bob.

By the numbers: The S&P 500 closed up 2.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.3% (or 367 points).

  • The rally continued the stock market's recent winning streak leading up to the election.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the stock market close.

Go deeper

Dow hits 30,000 for the first time

A trader outside the New York Stock Exchange in early November. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded above 30,000 for the first time ever on Tuesday.

Between the lines: The milestone is symbolic — the Dow hitting 30,001, for instance, is no less significant. However, it underscores the stock market's meteoric rebound from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic: just 8 months ago, the Dow traded below 19,000.

Paul Ryan calls on Trump to concede race and end lawsuits

Paul Ryan and Joe Biden after the vice presidential debate in 2012. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) on Tuesday called on President Trump to concede the election to President-elect Biden and "embrace the transfer of power," in an address at a financial conference first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: Trump has continued to deny that he lost the election, despite his administration granting so-called "ascertainment" on Monday, allowing the transition to formally begin.

2 mins ago - World

Israeli parliament opts for early elections in preliminary vote

Netanyahu (C) arrives in parliament today. Photo: Alex Kolomiensky/Pool/AFP via Getty

After six months of a dysfunctional power-sharing government, Israel is headed for its fourth elections in less than two years, most likely at the end of March.

Driving the news: The Knesset voted 61-54 today to approve the preliminary reading of a bill to dissolve the parliament and call new elections. Benny Gantz's Blue and White party supported the bill while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and the rest of the coalition voted against.