From a policy standpoint, one area where the Trump candidacy stands out is his strident approach to trade deals. He opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and has threatened to label China a currency manipulator.
However, the net result of this approach may not be a trade war but rather saber-rattling to little effect, according to one analysis.
"It is impossible to be sure what Donald Trump would actually do if he became U.S. president, but our best guess is that he would back away from his most radical proposals on trade policy. And even if he carried out his threats, the consequences would probably be less damaging than many fear," Andrew Kenningham, senior global economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.
"Overall, it is not clear that aggressive trade policies by the U.S. would unleash a wave of protectionist measures comparable to that which occurred after the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930," he added.
Kenningham compared the Trump plans to Richard Nixon's 10 percent import surcharge in 1971, and the battles Ronald Reagan waged in the 1980s to get Japan to institute voluntary export limits. Both measures proved effective.
"In a similar vein, threats from the U.S. could, for example, persuade China to scale back subsidies for its steel industry," Kenningham said.
Ultimately, then, the Clinton-Trump showdown could make for great theater but prompt more nuanced responses from investors.
Wells Fargo is encouraging its clients to sit tight and not make any impulsive decisions based on which way the political winds are blowing. The firm's four potential election scenarios currently equate to a 50-50 chance for either candidate.
"We believe that the worst risks to the financial markets ... have the lowest probabilities of occurring and advise investors not to allow the candidates' broad unpopularity to drive fear of worse financial market impacts than are likely," the firm said in a report. "In our view, investors should avoid large portfolio changes based on election fears or speculation."