Wall Street and world stock markets are hungry for a clear-cut election result in America on Wednesday, and there is more tension than trading in the air today, despite a positive opening. A repeat of 2000’s uncertainty would, say analysts, hurt the dollar and investor confidence, and the prospect of an airtight finish has already pushed the greenback to a six month low against the yen in recent weeks.
Whoever wins the race for the White House, there will be winners and losers says First Albany capital’s chief investment officer Hugh Johnson; “Some of the basic materials companies like chemicals companies are not, or would not like some of the environmental controls that Senator Kerry is likely to impose, and so basic materials companies would probably do better under Bush than they would Kerry, particularly chemical companies”. The health care sector may also be hit, as a Kerry victory may see increased government intervention in pricing policy, and imports of cheap Canadian drugs. And that is not all says Sam Stovall of Standard and Poors; “President Kerry would like to be able to benefit some of the hospitals because if we are likely to see some sort of universal health programme, that means more individuals would be covered by insurance, and therefore hospitals would not have an influx of uninsured people and therefore an increase in their bad debt”. However, beyond the swings and roundabouts of who will do better or worse the markets will want hard data on where America’s debt is going, and above all will want to avoid the post-2000 vote uncertainty, when Wall Street shed five percent in the five week hiatus before the winner was confirmed.