Jeff Benjamin

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Post-election outlook? Rewind to 2008

Washington gridlock and a happy stock market

Nov 7, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

The crowds might have been smaller this time around and the election results might have been closer, but in the end it seems we are almost back to square one in terms of a market outlook under President Obama.

While the S&P 500 Index had a total return of about 50% over the past four years, and one could argue that plenty of ground has been covered over that time, market watchers virtually across the board are singing a familiar post-election tune.

As with four yeas ago, the infrastructure sector looks promising because of expected spending to upgrade roads and bridges.

Consumer staple retailers should be indirect beneficiaries of extended unemployment programs.

And the constant emphasis on healthcare reform bodes well for pharmacy benefit managers, diagnostic labs, and hospital facilities.

The anticipated losers? Big banks, health insurers, defense contractors, and energy companies.

Tim Leach, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said the stock market should generally like what it is getting again from Washington.

“From a historical point of view, the market has tended to prefer it when Washington's power is relatively neutralized,” he said, in a reference to the divided houses of Congress.

“Once we get over the emotional reaction of today [with stocks down more than 2%], my sense is that the market will settle into the reality of power being in check,” he added.

So it is official, we're all four years older, stocks are up a bit, and the wheel-spinning in Washington continues.

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