Oceans of ink have already been spilled handicapping the presidential candidates' chances, based on how the stock market is doing. Now, let's take a peek at the crystal ball to see how the stock market's sectors will do if President Obama gets another four years, or the country gives the nod to Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
In spite of conventional Wall Street wisdom, stock prices, corporate profits and the economy as a whole post better performance under Democratic administrations than Republican ones, according to Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist for S&P Capital IQ. He writes that although Democrats are the "'tax and spend' party, the important part of that equation may be the 'spend.' When you spend, that usually improves the economy and increases corporate earnings."
Here are the numbers. He's crunched the data since 1900, when Americans have had six Democratic presidents and six Republican presidents. He found the S&P climbed a median 12.1% in each year of a Democratic presidency. That compares with a median 5.1% growth in each year that a Republican occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In that same period, the national Gross Domestic Product advanced a median 4.2% a year under Democratic administrations, and 2.6% a year under Republicans. Since 1936, earnings, in the S&P 500 GAAP (As Reported) EPS climbed a median 10.5% a year under Democrats, versus a median 8.9% under Republicans.
To dig deeper into the question of how electing Romney or Obama would affect the stock market, the sector analysts at S&P Capital IQ examined how each candidate would affect their industry.
They concluded that the Democrats' pledge to end the Bush-era tax cuts would hurt the industries with the highest yield, including consumer staples, telecom services and utilities. The analysts expect the health care sector to be an overall winner from another four years of an Obama presidency, as his healthcare reform, the Affordable Health Care for America Act - widely known as "Obamacare," will unfold. The analysts reckon all the new customers will boost big pharma as well as producers of generic drugs and hospitals. This trend will spill over to help drug retailers, within the consumer staples sector. S&P's analysts think these companies will benefit from the increase in insured consumers who need local places to buy their prescriptions. Within the consumer discretionary sector, the analysts predict broadband service providers and homebuilders will benefit from four more years of Obama. Within energy, the president is expected to boost renewable energy and natural gas industries.
On the other side of the ledger, the analysts predict that Romeny's vow to repeal "Obamacare," could be harmful to health care, by introducing "uncertainty" to the sector. They write that for political reasons it's unlikely he'll be able to repeal it entirely, although he could possibly repeal portions of it, or weaken it considerably by granting individual states the right to opt out of the law. Another big industry, financial services, will likely get a boost by the GOP's pledge to end another piece of landmark legislation: Dodd-Frank. The thinking is less regulation will only help the financial sector to greater profits. Other likely beneficiaries from a Romney administration's lighter regulatory hand include foods, autos, oil drillers, diversified miners, steel and coal-fired plants. Tech could do well if a Romney administration reinstates an R&D tax credit, or cuts taxes on foreign earnings, allowing tech companies, which have a lot of cash overseas, to repatriate their earnings.