This week, citizens of the United States will decide which political party controls the legislative branch, as well as several gubernatorial seats. Midterm elections will be held for 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the Senate, and 35 gubernatorial seats. These elections leave many wondering what impacts these elections will have on the equity markets as a whole.
Generally speaking, voters have not favored the political party currently in power. Since 1922, the party of the sitting president has lost, on average, 30 seats in the House of Representatives and four seats in the Senate. In more recent memory– Trump lost 40 seats, Obama lost 63 seats, Bush lost 32 seats, and Clinton lost 54 seats in each president’s respective midterm election cycle.
However, historically speaking, midterm elections have been a positive indicator for equity performance. In 17 of the last 19 midterm election cycles, market performance has increased six months after the election compared to the months prior. On average since 1950, the six months following a midterm election have resulted in a 16% market return. Extrapolating further to twelve months following resulted in an 18% return, and twenty four months following resulted in a 33% return. This data is regardless of which political party won and what issues were taking place at the time.
While there is no concrete or definitive answer for why this trend exists, generally speaking, presidents and parties in power attempt to surge the economy post-midterms through expansionary policies. This, more often than not, stimulates economic activity and leads to overall positive market returns.
The question remains– will this year follow the trend or be an exception? One of the cautions surrounding market recovery moving forward in the short term is that of inflation. As inflation hits decade-long highs, we could see the Federal Reserve further tightening monetary policy in an attempt to curb rising prices. With the potential of continued rising interest rates, it’s difficult to compare the market recoveries of previous midterm cycles with 2022’s current reality.
What we can say with reasonable certainty is that the data shows the market recoveries that have occurred in the past have no bearing on what political party is currently in power. Both 2016 and 2020 were election years in the United States that saw Donald Trump and Joe Biden, respectively, elected President. In both years, the S&P 500 saw double digit total returns. Furthermore, annual stock market returns from Donald Trump’s four years in office and Barack Obama’s last four years in office were nearly identical, at 16% and 16.3%, respectively. Making sweeping changes to your financial plan in preparation for a certain political outcome is generally ill-advised, as large scale changes should only be addressed when your financial goals themselves change.
Over the long-term, markets are driven by much more than just politics. Your financial plan and investment strategy should extend far beyond any specific president, political party, or election cycle.
Equilibrium Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor. The contents of this article are for educational purposes only and do not represent investment advice.
Stock markets are volatile, and the prices of equity securities fluctuate based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. Although common stocks have historically generated higher average total returns than fixed-income securities over the long-term, common stocks also have experienced significantly more volatility in those returns and, in certain periods, have significantly underperformed relative to fixed-income securities. An adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of a particular common stock held by the Fund. A common stock may also decline due to factors which affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. For dividend-paying stocks, dividends are not guaranteed and may decrease without notice.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The change in investment value reflects the appreciation or depreciation due to price changes, plus any distributions and income earned during the report period, less any transaction costs, sales charges, or fees. Gain/loss and holding period information may not reflect adjustments required for tax reporting purposes. You should verify such information when calculating reportable gain or loss.
This content has been prepared for general information purposes only and is intended to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to give advice. The views expressed are the views of the writer at the time of issue and may change over time. This is not an offer document, and does not constitute an offer, invitation, investment advice or inducement to distribute or purchase securities, shares, units or other interests or to enter into an investment agreement. No person should rely on the content and/or act on the basis of any matter contained in this document. The tax and estate planning information provided is general in nature. It is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
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* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* The risk of loss in trading commodities and futures can be substantial. You should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. The high degree of leverage is often obtainable in commodity trading and can work against you as well as for you. The use of leverage can lead to large losses as well as gains.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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