One aspect of last week’s midterms that is not being discussed much, but has critical relevance for the wealth management industry is that fact that statehouses across the country swung from red to blue. Democrats won control of several state legislatures and governor seats across the nation. The impact on advisors could be large, as many more states are now much less constrained in their ability to urge for, and issue, their own fiduciary rules.
FINSUM: The massive “blue wave” did not materialize, but the gains were substantial enough that they could create some serious headaches for advisors that are in swing states. Perhaps even more concerning is how the blue House might push for a renewed federal fiduciary rule.
The market had a relief rally right after the election results came in. Yesterday wasn’t so good. The big question on everyone’s mind is where the market is headed from here. Looking historically, the current political arrangement (split Congress, Republican presidency) is the worst for markets. The S&P 500 has had the lowest returns in the current political set up, though it has only occurred four times since 1900.
FINSUM: The market’s outlook for 2019 appears fairly bleak to flat for us. The main reason why is that there won’t be another major tax package, and the great earnings of this year will make 2019 comparisons look weak. Growth is also likely to slow.
The midterms are finally over, and with it the possible end to the volatility of the last month. Many on Wall Street now say stocks are ready to gain as buying fever takes over. The election went almost exactly as expected, which has set up a possible goldilocks scenario for markets. With Congress split, it is likely that policy gridlock will take over, a situation many think is ideal for stocks. The idea is that the less government does, the more room the market has to operate uninhibited.
FINSUM: The key here is that a split Congress means there likely won’t be any huge policy changes over the next two years. That seems favorable for stocks given the political uncertainty over the last 24 months.
This midterm election might have ended up being very consequential for muni bond markets. Some in the muni market feared the possibility of the Republicans maintaining control of both the House and Senate because of how further tax changes could have hurt the finances of municipalities. However, now that Congress is split, the outlook seems more favorable. The reason why is that Congress now looks more likely to restore a tax exemption for a debt refinancing strategy that is often used by local governments.
FINSUM: Just like in other asset classes, having a split Congress looks favorable for munis.
The midterm elections are finally in the rearview mirror, and generally speaking, the results are exactly what the market expected. That means it may be time for a rush back into stocks after the turmoil of the last month. One analyst put it this way, saying “Following this week’s volatility and the FANGs selloff this week, we’re likely to see traders getting back in and buying the dip. The elections have been a win for both the Republicans and the Democrats, and this will bring balance to the market”.
FINSUM: We do suspect investors will breath a sigh of relief. Firstly, things went according to plan, but secondly, a split Congress is in some ways the best case scenario for stocks.