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Which party is really better for the stock market? It depends

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaking during the first 2020 presidential campaign debate.
Brian Snyder | Reuters

Everyone knows that Republicans are better for the stock market, right?

Actually, that's not true. So it must be Democrats.

But wait. That's not so accurate, either.

In reality, evaluating which party plays more into the hands of investors requires some nuance and a clear analysis of what the secret sauce is that makes Wall Street's motor run.

The partisan question comes into view every four years or so as the nation makes its way to the polls to decide who is going to occupy the Oval Office. President Donald Trump has overseen a solid market performance, but his opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, has said that the rise has come amid a backdrop in which economic gains have flowed mostly to the rich.

Conventional Wall Street wisdom is that putting a pro-business Republican in charge would seem to be better for the stock market. Time has shown, though, that the S&P 500, at least, has fared better when Democrats own the presidency.

But that doesn't tell the whole story.

"The stock market has done well historically under Democrats. Now Republicans will say, 'Sure it does, because we got things ready for it. We fixed the economy," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "But the fact is, there's always something to invest in."

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