The stock market has been given a lot of time to adjust to the midterm elections and their likely outcome. Most think Democrats will take back the House, while Republicans will hold the Senate. So what is the market saying about how different sectors will perform in that scenario? The answer is that stocks in the defense and infrastructure space are doing well, as most don’t see a fiscal tightening. Infrastructure spending is also seen as a bipartisan issue. Pharmaceutical companies are also benefitting as a split congress would be less likely to pass legislation to lower drug prices. Stocks impacted by trade tensions have continued to suffer as no one sees a bright outcome on that front.
FINSUM: So the market’s assumption are showing through, but that heightens the risk of what happens if the election does not go to plan. For instance, what happens to pharma prices if the Democrats sweep?
One of the things that has become transparent on the midterm campaign trail this Autumn is that the Republican tax cut of last year has not proved a big selling point with voters. Many voters in high tax states are frustrated with the near elimination of SALT deductions. However, Trump is responding to the frustration with a new pitch he debuted on Saturday in Nevada—that a big new tax cut is coming for the middle class in the next few weeks. Treasury secretary Mnuchin confirmed the new middle class tax plan, which Trump called “a very major tax cut”.
FINSUM: The lack of a SALT deduction is really hurting Republicans in some critical voting areas. This seems like a plan to win some of them back.
Republicans are feeling a lot of heat on the campaign trail because of one of their most contentious tax policy changes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many voters says they will vote democrat in high-tax states because of the Republican-led change to greatly reduce SALT deductions, which has sent tax bills soaring for many affluent residents of high-tax states. Democrats have promised to abolish the SALT deduction limit.
FINSUM: The interesting thing here is that the most pain from the tax change is being in felt in some of the districts that went red in 2016. For example, there are many affluent suburbs in New Jersey that are now feeling the pinch from the changes, which could, in aggregate, change the outlook for midterms.
It looks like Michael Bloomberg, founder of the eponymous financial data firm, is eyeing a run at the White House. The move, which the Financial Times quipped was one New York Billionaire trying to replace another as president, surprises no one, as Bloomberg has been hinting at his run for some time. He has given over $100m to Democratic candidates for the midterm elections, something a staffer said was “a hell of a lot of IOUs”. Bloomberg will be 78 years old in 2020.
FINSUM: Speaking purely from a competitive standpoint, we have mixed feelings about whether he would be a good candidate for the Democratic party. On the one hand, he is more centrist than a lot of other Democrats, so could get some Republican votes. But on the other, he is also a New York billionaire, which could turn some off.
The midterm elections are just around the corner and there is some anxiety over how they might impact stocks. The last few days have been poor, while the preceding month had been good. Barron’s argues that the election will be bullish for stocks. The reason why is that no matter what happens, stocks look likely to rise. Even when the sitting president’s party loses seats, stock tend to gain, and the year after such a loss tends to be the best year of a president’s term. One of the reasons why is that the party in power typically undertakes economic stimulus after their defeat. The Wall Street Journal summarizes “Either way, many believe that stocks will get a boost after the midterm elections as investors will be contending with one less uncertainty”.
FINSUM: We think the election will be good for stocks as well. If the democrats see success, there is less risk of a brutal trade war. If the Republicans win, there is probably more pro-business policies put in place.