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Here's why you may want to 'fade the Clinton rally'

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 7, 2016.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 7, 2016.

Everyone knows that the markets have been pricing in divided government. Market watchers see a Clinton win with the House staying Republican.

The S&P 500 dropped 3 percent in nine straight days of losses in the last two weeks as the presidential election polls narrowed, and on Monday regained more than half the losses. It comes after FBI Director James Comey said a review of new Clinton-related emails did not change the agency's July decision not to recommend charges related to her handling of classified information.

Is any rally on a Clinton victory a doomed rally? At the end of last week, Nomura implied that it was.

"[I]t's completely plausible that if Clinton wins, any sort of relief rally in equities is faded as a lot of technical damage on the charts has happened and because markets also might be coming around to the idea that her administration could be bogged down by the House and the overall environment can remain contentious and therefore volatile," Nomura said.

Roberto Friedlander at Seaport Global argued that this "Comey Rally" was "similar to the knee-jerk Brexit reversal where we saw a plunge, followed by a failed rally."

"Don't be surprised to see this Comey Rally fade late today," he added.

"Fade the Clinton rally" is having its moment.

"More taxes, more drug scrutiny, deficits likely growing, and just more of the same," Joe Zicherman, a veteran Morgan Stanley trader who now trades his own money, said of what could happen if Clinton wins. "The first president in history to come in with a sub-50 percent approval rating. Shouldn't you fade that?"

Still, the "fade the Clinton rally" argument is a minority view, at least for the moment. More typical is the view from Jim Paulsen of Wells Capital Management, who argued on CNBC this morning that a pickup in earnings momentum and stronger economic numbers would sustain stocks.

A recent ISI Evercore survey found that 83 percent of investors expect the market to rally in the week following the election if Clinton wins.

Even after six months, 70 percent expect the S&P to be higher.

Ari Wald, technical strategist for Oppenheimer,over the weekend urged clients to buy on weakness.

"We now have the right leadership," he said to CNBC. "Investors are selling safety stocks, selling interest rates sensitive, and buying banks and tech."

He conceded that markets could test Friday's lows but that "if you do get another pullback, you want to buy it."

What about the collateral damage? A Clinton victory would likely lead to higher yields and a stronger dollar, for example. That's certainly a headwind for stocks.

Wald was not deterred: "This is similar to the 2013 taper tantrum. When rates move up, you want to buy."

  • Bob Pisani

    A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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