Biogen Stock Soars; Uber, Lyft Take Off

Well, the day Wall Street had been anticipating for months has finally come and gone. And despite the general haziness that still surrounds a number of important races, there’s one important development Election Day brought: Democrats are unlikely to take both houses of Congress and the White House.

Investors actually tend not to mind gridlock on Capitol Hill, as was apparent by the dramatic surge in all three major U.S. stock market indices on Wednesday. Wall Street posted its best day since June on hopes that a split government would be less likely to enact dramatic tax changes or sweeping new regulations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 367 points, or 1.3%, to finish at 27,847.

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Biogen soars on Alzheimer’s treatment hopes. By far the biggest large-cap mover of the day was Biogen (ticker: BIIB), which jumped more than 40% after a Food and Drug Administration panel waxed optimistically about the company’s much-discussed drug for Alzheimer’s disease, aducanumab.

Currently, there is no FDA-approved treatment for the debilitating neurodegenerative disease, making the FDA’s comments — set to be followed by an independent advisory committee meeting on the drug on Friday — an important indication that the drug should soon be approved, giving BIIB a monopoly on a treatment area with high demand and major public health implications.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., although some estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third.

Uber and Lyft both rallying. Shares of ride-hailing giants Uber ( UBER) and Lyft ( LYFT) both jumped on Wednesday, advancing 14.6% and 11.3%, respectively, following a vote on a California proposition that favored the gig economy employers.

The Golden State’s Proposition 22 passed, crippling California Assembly Bill 5 (2019), a law that went into effect at the beginning of 2020 and which reclassified gig workers as full-time employees. One of the main critiques of the bill was its broad language, which didn’t just impact the ride-hailing industry, creating economic hurdles for day-to-day entrepreneurs and small businesses.

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