Stocks rally on hopes of divided government. What it could mean for the market's next four years
A remarkably tight presidential race didn't stop stocks from rallying on Wednesday.
Technology led the major averages higher as election results rolled in, with some ascribing the gains to the preliminary results confirming there wouldn't be a blue wave, or Democratic sweep of all three branches of government.
Market analysts largely agree that a divided government would be good for the stock market.
Here's what four of them told CNBC on Wednesday:
Jeremy Siegel, Russell E. Palmer professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, said a Democratic White House and Republican Senate would be "excellent" for the economy and for stocks:
"First of all, I think [former Vice President Joe] Biden is going to win this, and I think very definitely the Senate is going to stay Republican and, truthfully, that combination is excellent for the economy and it's excellent for the markets. I actually think that President Biden, President-Elect Biden will work better with Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [being] Senate Leader than McConnell worked with [President Donald] Trump. Because remember, the strength of Biden was actually — and he mentioned this early in the primaries — … working across the aisle. And he's going to have to work with a Republican Senate to get something done. In the meantime, the Republican Senate is going to block any radical tax plan or anything that comes from the House. Hey, what more do you want?"
Roger Altman, the founder and senior chairman of Evercore, wasn't sure Wednesday's positive market action would last:
"I'm rather amazed by the markets, because in the last couple of days, they were rallying, and a lot of people thought that was on the expectation of a Biden win and a major stimulus package. ... Now, [Wednesday] morning, the markets are rallying apparently on the prospect of divided government and the likelihood that there won't, for example, be tax increases. That seems contradictory to me, so, I'm not sure that [Wednesday] morning's reaction is likely to be a long-term one, but we'll see. Nobody ever asked me to be an investment manager for a good reason. I do think we're headed for divided government. I mean, there are some far-fetched scenarios where the Democrats end up with control of the Senate, but they're very far-fetched, and the more likely scenario is that the Republicans hold the Senate. So, that means that thoughts of a very expansive Biden agenda, apart from stimulus, are in question or unlikely. There may be some areas where there can be agreement, like infrastructure. I mean, that seemed to be a promising one. But the prospects for a very expansive long-term Biden agenda I think are diminished quite a bit by this prospect of divided government."
Elevation Partners co-founder Roger McNamee spoke to a divided government's potential impact on tech:
"Divided government, where ... you don't have all three things in the hands of the same party, is clearly in the interests of anyone who might be up against regulatory pressure. ... And so, if you're an investor in Google, if you're an investor in Facebook or Amazon, the notion that Republicans will keep the Senate and the Democrats keep the House, that that is probably the best case you could have hoped for, and it makes sense to me that the stocks would react to that."
Elizabeth Burton, chief investment officer of the Hawaii Employees' Retirement System, said stocks still needed a lot of clarity:
"I think that the market reaction is somewhat expected. I think the divided [branches] make it much less likely that we get a massive fiscal stimulus bill. It's probably somewhere in the middle now. I think it'll still likely happen given everything that's happened over [Tuesday] night, but I think some of the risks are off the table. But some still are on. For example, I don't know that we have any clarity on what may happen with the China trade war moving forward."