At this point, everything that can possibly be said about this election has been said. Whether you dislike Donald Trump more than Clinton, or dislike Clinton more than Mr. Trump, the horrible, miserable conclusion is just days away.
Investors clearly prefer a Clinton win over Donald Trump. A Clinton Presidency would do little to rock the status-quo, since it's unlikely that a Republican controlled House of Representatives would allow the passage of ANY substantial legislation.
Markets have been unsettled for 7 straight trading days as Clinton's early October polling advantage shrank, particularly after FBI Director James Comey's oddly timed announcement regarding emails of Huma Abedin on the laptop of estranged husband Anthony Weiner. After selling off 3% in the last three days, US stocks are now 4.1% below the July high, though up 5.2% on the year. Our forecast for all of 2016 remains at 10%.
We reassured many concerned clients that if Mr. Trump appeared likely to win, four days in advance of the election we would sell all the stocks and equity mutual funds in their retirement accounts in anticipation of a 10% correction in stocks. We wouldn't sell equity exposure in taxable accounts because the capital gains taxes would generally exceed 10% of the value of the positions.
If Clinton won, we would expect a modest relief rally of a couple of percent, gaining back the 2.5% loss of the last month, plus a little more. Thereafter, investors would revert to studying Fed Policy and earnings expectations.
At the national level, Clinton leads by a razor thin 1.7%. However, ONLY results in the electoral college matter. 263 electoral votes are likely to solidify in the Democratic camp, while the Republicans have to make up quite a deficit from 148. 127 electoral votes remain in the "toss up category." For the win, Clinton needs 270 votes. Three states: Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, have the potential to deliver the "kill shot" to the Donald Trump campaign. Mr. Trump has to win ALL three of these states, plus 2 of 6 other states. At present, Clinton is likely to win North Carolina, is on a knife edge to win Florida, and probably will lose Ohio. No matter: By 8 PM on Tuesday, if Clinton has won any of these three states, "game over" for Donald Trump.
Perhaps a quarter of ballots have already been cast, so before the recent bad week for Clinton. At this point, the outcome balances on the air war (advertising, about a 5:1 advantage to Clinton) and the ground war (getting voters to the polls - Mr. Trump has no infrastructure.) We conclude that Clinton will score better final results than current polls suggest because of superior organization.
Believe us, we are not resting easy until about 11 PM EST next Tuesday.