The trouble for Supreme Court justice-nominee Kavanaugh continues to pile up. Not only has one woman come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, but now another has done so. Kavanaugh is set to give testimony, along with his accuser, on Thursday, but just as this was decided, a new accuser (this from his college years) has come forward. In a rare television interview, Kavanaugh confirmed yesterday that he had not sexually assaulted anyone, ever, and that he would not be withdrawing from the nomination hearings.
FINSUM: This is a very high stakes nomination considering the midterm elections are looming. There are certainly more fireworks to come.
Right now it does not seem like it has a high likelihood, but given the current direction of antipathy towards Trump, a sweep by Democrats in the midterm elections could happen. If it does (as opposed to the more likely option of Democrats only taking the House), the following sectors should do well, says Barron’s. These include: consumer staples, utilities, and real estate, all rate-sensitive sectors. The reason why is that Democrats are expected to push through a big infrastructure spending plan if they win, which would create deflation and keep rates pinned.
FINSUM: This is quite an insightful take on what might flourish if Democrats do have a breakthrough. It seems unlikely, but then again, it seemed unlikely Trump was going to win going into election night!
It would be an understatement to say that a lot is riding on the midterms. Control of Congress is at stake, and within it, the whole policy agenda of the country. The stakes are even higher because of how politically divided the country is. Many think the Democrats will take the house but lose the Senate, resulting in a split Congress. This puts many investors at ease because it could block some of the right’s more extreme impulses (such as those against free trade). However, there is reason to worry that Republicans might fare far worse. That reason is that Donald Trump is the most unpopular president ever in such a buoyant economy. According to one polling expert, “There’s a huge disconnect … The economy doesn’t seem to be dominating in a way that it often does in elections”.
FINSUM: Our worry for the Republicans is that Trump is making the midterms more about himself than the party, and given the high degree of disapproval, that approach could really end up costing Republicans in the midterms. Consider an all-blue Congress come November a considerable tail risk.
There has been a lot of speculation that the midterm elections could cause a big problem for markets. If the Democrats sweep into congress, causing a major power shift, many worry markets might crumple. However, the reality is that the most likely outcome—a blue House and Red Senate—would actually be bullish for stocks. One analyst who specializes in political-driven investing says that investors would be relieved to have a split Congress. If somehow both chambers go blue, then there would likely be a selloff in bonds, stocks, and the Dollar, but even that might prove a buying opportunity as Democrats “are not unified around anything”.
FINSUM: Depending on the election’s outcome, different sectors are going to see different results, as some are blue-positive (like auto suppliers, homebuilders, hospitals etc), while others are red-positive (like biotech, banking, credit cards, and defense).
By far the biggest focus of the recent tax package has been its limiting of SALT deductions to just $10,000. The current implementation of the rule was considered phase one by Republicans, with phase two—making the changes permanent—supposed to happen this fall. However, given how tight the congressional races are, including in high tax states like New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Illinois, many Republicans are now considering delaying the vote so that sitting representatives don’t have to take a stand on the package.
FINSUM: The SALT limits are wildly unpopular in many locations, and the Republicans are rightfully worried that pushing for making them permanent could cost them some seats. Will this eventually lead to the repeal of the rule?