Massachusetts Race "Huge" in Stock Market Today

ABC's Betsy Stark reports from New York:

The Dow Industrials are up almost 100 points at this hour and traders say the potential for a Republican to win Ted Kennedy’s senate seat is behind the rally.

The Massachusetts race is playing “huge” on Wall Street today, says veteran trader Alan Valdes, “bigger than Citi earnings” which would have been the big story absent the high-stakes political contest.

“Wall Street loves gridlock,” Valdes says, and a Republican win is a defeat for the ability of the Obama agenda to move forward.

“The market does best when there is divided leadership in the White House and in Congress,” explains trader Art Hogan, a Massachusetts native. “It slows down the potential for radical change” and that’s a particularly appealing prospect with reform of Wall Street itself on the Democrats’ agenda.

“The market will probably celebrate” tomorrow if Scott Brown wins, says Hogan.

Leading today’s rally: health care stocks. If you’re thinking that doesn’t make sense -- don’t medical providers benefit when 30-plus million more Americans get insured and enter the system? Yes. But as Valdes explains, the market now sees a “win/win for the industry. If the bill passes with no public option, it’s a win. And if the whole bill is derailed, even better.”

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