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.
President Trump followed through on his threats today, hiking tariffs on China to 25% across $200 bn worth of goods. The move came as US and Chinese negotiators have not been making much progress in talks. Beijing has vowed to retaliate, but the talks between the two nations are continuing. Trump reinforced that there was no need to rush on a deal. Stocks opened lower on the news.
FINSUM: This certainly does not seem like good news and we are starting to think it may be some time before a real deal happens, which means the issue may continue to loom over the market.
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.
New polling data has come out since Joe Biden, former vice president, announced his candidacy. In a development that may come as a surprise, poll numbers are showing him as the Democratic front runner, unseating Bernie Sanders. 39% of Democrats or Democrat-leaning voters say he is their top choice for the candidacy. That figure is up from 28% in March.
FINSUM: It looks like Biden’s reputation hasn’t been tarnished much by the negative press lately. That said, we still favor Bernie to get the nomination on the Democratic side.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the Democratic presidential bid, has just put forward a brazen new policy. She is calling for a large scale program to forgive student debt for millions of Americans. She wants to offer a $50,000 forgiveness program to those with incomes under $100,000. She plans to finance the overall program, which also includes making future tuition free, through a tax on the ultra wealthy. Her plan has faced some internal party criticism, because many times those with the highest debt are also those that went to elite colleges and tend to be at the higher echelons of the earnings spectrum.
FINSUM: While this is a LONG way from happening, it is worth thinking through, especially as other candidates are likely to adopt some form of it. In our view, the biggest beneficiary of this policy would be real estate, as it would enable a whole generation of Millennials and Gen Zers to buy homes because they would suddenly be unsaddled by student debt.
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.