As Americans head to the polls to cast their final vote for the 2020 election – Wall Street is already voting with its dollars.
The Dow was up nearly 1,000 points between Monday and Tuesday, bouncing back from last week’s stock market plunge, which was the biggest weekly drop in seven months.
With polls indicating a possible win for Democratic contender Joe Biden, investors seem to be ok with that outcome.
Wall Street is preparing for what is sure to be a new era if he indeed wins.
And top of mind post election? What a Biden win could mean for another economic stimulus package.
Reuters investments reporter David Randall:
“If there is a Democratic takeover of the Senate as well, that's going to be much more likely that the House Democratic bill of $2.2 trillion dollars stimulus will not only pass, but might even be larger. Wall Street is saying: OK, that's going to help many people who are unemployed. I don't need to worry about the finances of local states and municipalities. All these other things are going to be boosted by a stimulus bill.”
All-in-all, investors see that as a win-win for smaller companies, industrials and economically-sensitive sectors.
And there’s something else for Wall Street to like about Biden, investors told Reuters.
“Biden has proposed a $2 trillion climate change bill, which would address climate through things like energy infrastructure, building now more of an infrastructure for electric vehicles. So that would be another large spending bill and many companies will benefit from that."
Biden will need people to steer both of those large spending plans and that’s where Wall Street will be looking for clues through his cabinet picks. Will they be more market-friendly, moderate, middle-of-the road types or will Biden lean to the growing power of the progressive wing of his party?
Senator Elizabeth Warren's name has been floated out there as a possible choice to lead the Treasury. Many Wall Street insiders say if Biden picks a progressive firebrand like Warren for that post – financial markets will certainly be spooked.
Representatives for Warren did not respond to requests for comment. The Biden-Harris transition team, through a spokesperson, said it is not making any personnel decisions "pre election."
For investors, that’s not the only potential market negative of a sweeping Biden win.
“Other downsides, you know potential downsides for a blue wave, would be more likely higher taxes, both corporate and personal taxes, income taxes. If there's expectation that Biden is going to win and that income taxes are going to go up, people are going to be more likely to sell their winners now to try to lock in those lower tax rates. So that could be a big weight on companies that have done really well this year. Some people are going to say: you know what, I'm going to harvest those gains and pay the tax rate I can now because I don't know how much higher tax rates are going to go.”
While conventional wisdom might suggest that Democrats in the White House are bad for stocks– it’s not so in recent decades. In fact, the best stock market performance of any president since the 1980s goes to a Democrat.
In Bill Clinton’s second term the S&P 500 soared 101 percent.