US election: stockmarkets don’t care who’s in the White House

The economic cycle and America's central bank have a much bigger effect on long-term stockmarket returns than whether Democrats or Republicans are in power.

“No stimulus, no problem,” say William Watts and Sunny Oh for MarketWatch.com. This week Democrats and Republicans continued to discuss another stimulus package, but the odds of any deal before the election looked increasingly remote. 

Nevertheless, bulls have decided that the American consumer can probably hold on until 2021 even without further help. Retail sales rose by 1.9% in September, the fifth straight month of gains. 

That news cheered the S&P 500, which continues to trade about 3% short of its early September highs. Benefits from the $2.2trn CARES act, America’s pandemic stimulus package, ebbed over the summer, but that has yet to curb the enthusiasm of American consumers. That is because many households have a financial cushion, says Nathaniel Meyersohn for CNN Business. The US personal savings rate hit the highest level since 1981 in March. 

Stockmarkets appear to be positioning for a “blue wave” that will bring Democrats to power in the presidency and Congress, paving the way for more generous stimulus measures in January next year. Analysts say that a Democratic sweep would mean more regulation for energy, financial and healthcare businesses, while extra stimulus will boost construction and renewable energy shares, says Michael Mackenzie in the Financial Times. US presidential elections always create “anxiety and volatility” in markets, but long-term investors should “ignore the short-term market noise”. 

The economic cycle and the Federal Reserve have a much bigger impact on long-term returns than whether Democrats or Republicans are in power. The S&P 500 is up by 53% since Trump took office. Under Obama it bounced by 71% and it rose even more under Reagan.

Recommended

Stockmarkets have a spring in their step
Stockmarkets

Stockmarkets have a spring in their step

Global stockmarkets have been basking in the post-Covid economic recovery as GDP, retail sales and manufacturing are all on the way back up.
23 Apr 2021
Stockmarkets shrug off turbulence
Stockmarkets

Stockmarkets shrug off turbulence

Stockmarkets have hit their first bout of turbulence of the year, but most are clinging onto January’s gains.
4 Feb 2021
US stockmarkets shrug off signs of overheating
US stockmarkets

US stockmarkets shrug off signs of overheating

Signs of overheating in the markets are everywhere, but that didn't stop US stocks hitting new record highs last week.
29 Jan 2021
US stockmarkets shrug off the mob's rampage through the US Capitol building
US stockmarkets

US stockmarkets shrug off the mob's rampage through the US Capitol building

US stockmarkets seem more interested in the results of Senate elections in Georgia than on the lawless mob's raid on the country's Capitol building.
14 Jan 2021

Most Popular

US stocks look expensive – here’s what to own instead
Investment strategy

US stocks look expensive – here’s what to own instead

Right now, US stocks are among the most expensive in the world. So if you want a decent return on your investments, you should look into diversifying …
17 May 2021
How will Joe Biden’s capital gains tax rise affect crypto prices?
Bitcoin & crypto

How will Joe Biden’s capital gains tax rise affect crypto prices?

The US president wants to increase capital gains tax – and that’s going to hit a lot of American cryptocurrency speculators. Saloni Sardana looks at h…
14 May 2021
Inheritance tax planning: the rules around gifting
Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax planning: the rules around gifting

There are plenty of legal ways to minimise an inheritance tax bill. Perhaps the simplest is to give away assets to reduce the size of your estate. Dav…
11 May 2021