The re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama next week would be positive for bonds, while a victory for Republican rival Mitt Romney would be better for equities, according to a survey of professional investors by Barclays.
The survey of investors who manage a combined $10 trillion-plus of assets comes as the candidates gear up for the last week of campaigning in what has become a tightly fought race, with polls suggesting that it is too close to call.
If Obama wins a second term as President, investors favor bonds but are divided about the direction of equities, the survey found. Many anticipate a “small and short-lived” equity sell-off if Obama wins and a “substantial or small” increase in equities if Romney makes it to the White House.
“Obama’s victory would likely be perceived as preserving the status quo,” analysts at Barclays wrote in a research note. “A Romney win is more likely to suggest a change of direction to clients by way of a better growth outlook.”
Whoever wins is facing a looming “fiscal cliff”at the start of 2013, as automatic spending cuts and the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts hit the economy. (Read More: Larry Summers Says Avoid ‘Fiscal Cliff’)
A congressional deadlock, which could affect the government’s ability to reach a deal to avert such an outcome would concern investors most following an Obama victory, according to Barclays. (Read More: CEOs Pressure Politicians to Get Serious on Debt)
If Romney wins, the biggest concerns would be whether he would call time on looser monetary policy by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Romney has stated his opposition to the Fed’s latest round of quantitative easing, also known as QE3, and to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke seeking a third term, signaling that he may call for a change in the central bank’s policy. Monetary easing has been credited with helping to keep the U.S. economy out of a double-dip recession, although critics argue that it is ultimately putting the Fed in danger of a riskier balance sheet.
These concerns about a Romney administration’s effect on the Fed may explain why investors expect a sell-off in bond markets after a Romney victory and a rally if Obama is successful.