With the election only eight days away and earnings season in full swing, stocks have bucked the usual October weakness during election years so far in 2020 (Monday’s losses notwithstanding). The good news is this could continue, as one of the best days of the year is right around the corner.
As concern over the upcoming election continues to build, one of the questions we’re getting is whether investors should sell ahead of the election for fear the party they don’t want to win takes over the White House.
As tempting as this might be, we would continue to focus on the economy instead. “Whoever wins the election in November is going to take over an improving economy and one that likely won’t see a recession in 2021—and that matters more to stocks,” explained LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Not to mention that many gains were missed out under President Barack Obama and again under President Donald Trump, due to disagreement over their policies.”
First and foremost, we wish President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump a swift and full recovery. This October surprise raises the already high level of political uncertainty markets are dealing with as Election Day approaches. As market participants digest this news and consider the possibility that the President may not be able to fulfill his duties, markets may become more volatile. However, we believe Trump’s odds of beating the virus, as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro did, are quite good. As the President and first lady of the United States, Donald and Melania Trump will be monitored closely and have ready access to the best health care in the world.
The first presidential debate is now in the books, with two more (maybe) ahead and a vice presidential debate on October 7. The debate was raucus, occasionally uncouth, and more than a little surreal for viewers at home. But did anything happen that could potentially move markets? Probably not.
“Despite the chaos, viewers probably came out of the debate with largely the same impression of the candidates they came in with,” said LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “We expect markets will likely take a similar view.”
The first presidential debate is tonight, September 29, with millions of people expected to tune in to see how each candidate handles the pressure. With tensions heightened amid an election that may be much closer than the polls currently suggest, any potential mistake could be magnified exponentially.
Wednesday we’ll summarize our takeaways from the event, but today we’ll take a closer look at how stocks historically have performed around a first presidential debate.
What a month August has been so far, with the S&P 500 Index up more than 7%, for the best August since 1984. Not to be outdone, this is the first time in history August saw two separate 6-day (or more) win streaks. Last, with one day to go, the S&P 500 has gained 16 days so far this month, for the most since 16 in April 2019. Meanwhile, it is the most up days for any August since 2003.
This week in the LPL Market Signals podcast, LPL Financial’s Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick and Equity Strategist Jeff Buchbinder discuss the impacts of a potential Joe Biden victory. “Of course tensions are high as we head closer to the election, but don’t forget that stocks tend to do just fine, regardless of who is in the White House, as long as the economy is firm,” according to Ryan. “With many parts of the economic data showing continued improvement, there’s a good shot the economy will be on the upswing as we head into 2021.”
The incredible rally off the March 23 bear market bottom continues, with the S&P 500 Index up more than 50% from those fateful lows. It feels like a lifetime since the longest bull market ever ended. Remember though, although the recent bull market was the longest, it wasn’t the greatest, as the 1990s bull gained more on a percentage basis.
“Better late than never.”
It took a while, but the S&P 500 Index finally made a new all-time high, coming all the way back from the vicious 34% bear market in less than six months.