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Stock market news live updates: Stocks fall as control of Congress remains up in air

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Stocks opened lower Wednesday after three days of gains as investors mull over a mixed verdict from the midterm election results, challenging expectations on who will control the U.S. House and Senate.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) edged lower by roughly 0.8% in early morning trading, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) down by 0.6%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) down by as much as 1.1%.

On Tuesday, stocks rallied for a third consecutive day, with major indexes wavering throughout the day but ending higher at the market close.

Investors’ optimism was built on expectations that Republicans would gain ground and create gridlock in Washington. But the Republican red wave failed to materialize in the U.S. midterms. Democrats managed to flip a crucial Senate seat, with John Fetterman beating Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania race. As of Wednesday morning, both House and Senate control remains in the balance.

The year after midterm elections tends to see the highest equity returns, according to LPL Financial.

“Going back to 1951, a Democratic president with a Republican or split congress, the two most likely cases this election, has seen an average S&P 500 Index return of over 17% versus an overall average of just over 12%,” Barry Gilbert, asset allocation strategist at LPL Financial, wrote in a note.

The final outcome of the midterm results may not be known for days or weeks, but Wall Street pros aren’t expecting a big move in markets.

“We expect the impact of the election to tilt the market positive, partly because we’ll have it behind us,” Gilbert added. “As far as markets are concerned, the policy impact is likely to be small, and market participants will continue to be more focused on central bank policy and inflation.”

To that point, investors will turn their attention to Thursday morning’s inflation report. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect headline CPI at an annual rate of 7.9%, down from 8.2% the month before. Even if the report shows prices starting to moderate, core CPI remains far above the Fed’s comfort zone.

“We are still far above that 2% target,” Rebecca Felton, RiverFront Investment Group senior market strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday. “So, we don’t believe that the Fed is going to ease up at any point in the near term. And so rates will stay higher for longer and inflationary pressures clearly are likely to stay higher for longer, too.”

In corporate news, Meta Platforms said the social media giant would cut more than 11,000 jobs, or about 13% of staff, as the company restructures to cope with the slumping digital ad market. Disney (DIS) posted weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Tuesday, with the streaming business resulting in wider losses that offset strong performance at the theme parks. Disney stock opened more than 10% lower.

On the earnings front, Rivian (RIVN), Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Bumble (BMBL)are among the companies set to report earnings Wednesday.

Elsewhere, cryptocurrencies were under pressure as investors digested whether crypto exchange Binance will acquire rival FTX. Bitcoin dropped more than 10% to trade at $17,748.44 — near its lowest level in two years, according to CoinDesk.

In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to around 4.1% Wednesday. And in oil markets, Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell to $93.64 a barrel, extending losses for the third straight day, while the dollar also erased losses.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv

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