If you read the news after the Republicans took control of Congress in the recent U.S. mid-term elections, you’d be forgiven for thinking the markets are anything but volatile. After all, the S&P 500 and DOW are at record levels and optimism is running rampant on Wall Street.
Even the U.S. press outlets are high-fiving each other. “GOP win could spark party on Wall Street,” “U.S. Stock Markets Psyched for GOP Win,” “DOW S&P hit records after GOP takes Senate,” “Will we get a Republican bull market now?”
Granted, there is some historical precedence for the excitement. Twenty years ago, in 1994, the Republicans took over the House of Representatives for the first time in almost 50 years. Americans liked the idea of a centrist Bill Clinton in the White House and a conservative Congress.
In the six years leading up to the 1994 election rout, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 80%. Over the next six years, the DOW soared 185%, while the S&P 500 advanced more than 200%. Many are hoping the same thing happens again.
But will it? Times have certainly changed. The biggest issue facing Americans in the years after 1994 was Monica Lewinsky. Fast-forward and today, it’s economic challenges in the U.S., the world’s biggest national economy, including disappointing earnings, high personal debt levels, stagnant wages, and huge income disparity.
Internationally, things aren’t any better. The eurozone, the biggest economic region in the world, could slip back into a recession, and growth trajectories in China, Japan, and Russia are a growing concern. Investors also have to deal with geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia. Then there is ISIS and Ebola.
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