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U.S. Markets React To Donald Trump Election To Presidency
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange after Donald Trump won a major upset in the presidential election on November 9, 2016 in New York City.
Spencer Platt—Getty Images

U.S. stocks rose sharply on Wednesday in a dramatic turnaround from deep overnight losses as Wall Street digested the upset presidential election victory of Republican Donald Trump.

After warning for months that a Trump White House would create uncertainty and damage sentiment, investors poured money into sectors that may benefit from the former reality show star's victory.

That was a steep reversal from the night before, when financial markets reacted violently as Democrat Hillary Clinton's path to victory narrowed and S&P futures dropped 5 percent before a trading limit kicked in.

"The stock market is acting like a teenager. It makes a lot of demands but it doesn't know what it wants," said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Read More: These Stocks Are Spiking in the Wake of Donald Trump’s Win

Gains of 3 percent each in the heavily weighted healthcare and financials sectors pushed the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average up over 1 percent.

The real estate sector fell 2.48 percent and utilities lost 3.52 percent. Both sectors are proxies for bonds, which also fell.

"When you look at Trump's plans, they are actually pro-market," said Nadia Lovell, U.S. Equity Strategist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York.

"Increased fiscal spending, that's great for infrastructure and defense names, less regulations that help banks, less involvement in healthcare - things that worried the market before."

A curb on drug pricing was a key campaign theme for Clinton, while Trump has called for repealing the Affordable Care Act and loosening restrictions on banks enacted after the financial crisis.

At 3:05 pm ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.54 percent to 18,614.99 points and the S&P 500 had gained 1.24 percent to 2,166.09.

The Nasdaq Composite had added 1 percent to 5,245.54.

Republicans maintained their majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, potentially enabling the party to reshape Washington with two years of "unified" government.

"Regardless of the fact you had a Republican sweep, there are still checks and balances in place," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

"So you are going to have some of your more fiscally conservative Republicans that will certainly slow (Trump) down from doing anything crazy in terms of policy changes."

Wall Street is typically seen as preferring gridlock, or shared control of the White House and Congress, than a sweep of both chambers of Congress and the presidency.

The CBOE Volatility index, a gauge of investor anxiety, fell 20 percent and was on track for its biggest daily drop since late June.

Big pharmaceutical shares gained, with Pfizer jumping 8.3 percent, the biggest driver of the S&P 500's gains. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF surged 8.7 percent and was on track for its biggest daily percentage gain in eight years.

Among financials, JPMorgan Chase surged 5.7 percent, on pace for its best day in nine months, while Wells Fargo rose 6.06 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.27-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.47-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 58 new 52-week highs and 14 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 179 new highs and 94 new lows.

Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Chuck Mikolajczak, Tanya Agrawal and Yashaswini Swamynathan