The 2020 presidential election is still about a year and half away, yet a large number of investors have already made changes to their portfolios based on potential outcomes. Some 40% of investors say they have adjusted their portfolios because of the upcoming election, according to a recent survey. The reality is that investors are worried about a Democratic sweep of the presidency, House, and Senate, which could mean a serious rollback of Trump-era policies, including tax cuts. “If Biden continues to poll this well into the beginning of next year ahead of the primaries, he is gonna start to have some negative effect on the market”, says Tony Roth of Wilmington Trust.
FINSUM: We can’t help but agree with that last assessment. That said, we think negative effects will be slow and steady, not sharp moves.
A new poll of professional money managers has just been released, and the study shows that they think Trump is going to win in 2020. Amazingly, 67% of professional money managers say Trump will win the election versus just 28% who believe the Democratic candidate will win. What is eye-opening is that many polls outside the financial industry show the Democrats leading. Managers also scored the performance of Trump and the two chambers of Congress. Trump got the best grades of the three, but none of the scores were high.
FINSUM: This does not surprise us. All our business, both as it concerns publishing and advertising, is with professional money managers, and the one thing we know for sure is that the president has a very strong following in this community.
Attorney General Barr held a press conference this morning as a prelude the to lightly redacted Mueller report that is being released today. Generally speaking, Barr stuck to his previous summary of the report, saying there was nothing that amounted to obstruction of justice or collusion. He did give some further details, however, mentioning that there were ten instances where Mueller highlighted possible obstruction of justice. As a response to the statements, the Democrats, led by Pelosi and Schumer, are calling for Mueller himself to testify as soon as possible.
FINSUM: The political chaos about this report will not abate until the text is released and Congress and the nation hear from Mueller. We think it will happen soon.
The Trump administration has slowly but surely exerted its influence on the SEC. After two and half years, the changes are reaching their zenith. The last Democrat at the SEC is set to step down later this year. He is technically entitled to stay through June 2020, but is likely to leave before the autumn, when he is set head back to academia. The departure will open the door to a more conservative appointment. It would also mean there are only three commissioners left at the SEC, two of whom are Republicans, giving them an advantage in SEC matters.
FINSUM: This could have all sorts of ramifications for policy, including the best interest rule. We expect this may have some significant impacts on the the BI rule plays out.
The field for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidency could hardly be more crowded. 18 candidates have already declared, and a handful more, including heavyweights like Joe Biden, are expected to announce their candidacy. The big question right now is “who is leading?”. It is hard to answer perfectly, but two proxies—google activity by region, and fundraising, tell an interesting story. So far, it is Bernie Sanders as a clear leader, as he has garnered the most search and media interest and also leads in both self-funding and external fundraising by a wide margin. Kamala Harris has also garnered significant interest and and stands third in total funding. Sanders also leads in another interesting area—the share of small donations as a portion of total donations, a demonstration of a candidate’s total following.
FINSUM: Elizabeth Warren is also in the mix, but just from the early data we still think Bernie is going to be the candidate who faces Trump.