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Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas, expects some sectors to clearly benefit from the election, and the market as a whole to rise if history is a guide. He notes the S&P 500 has not declined in the 12 months following a midterm election since 1946.
One of the biggest undertakings of the new Congress could be to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was opposed by many Democrats but favored by the White House. The pact would include Japan and other Asian countries as well as Pacific Rim partners, like Chile.
It would give the United States more free trade markets and the beneficiaries could be liquefied natural gas companies because more gas hungry Asian markets would be open for U.S. exports. Clifton said chemical companies are also big supporters of the trade legislation, but it's opposed by the auto industry.
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Clifton expects the energy sector to benefit, with Republicans pushing a fast track approach for new pipelines for the Northeast and also driving approval for the controversial Keystone Pipeline if the White House does not approve it. "The Republicans are replacing some of the Democrats who voted for it. On net, you're increasing the number of supporters that are already over 60," Clifton said. There could also be more focus on oil exports.
"The Republicans have to pick the three things they want to do. They're telling you Keystone is one of them. Policy gets done when there are catalysts," he said.
More active Congress
Clifton also expects a unified Congress to be more active than the split Congress, which let bills languish. He notes that Democrats were successful in 2007 when they selectively pushed issues at the end of the Bush Administration, including the minimum wage and student loans.