Investors seem to like the idea of Mitt Romney as U.S. President so far. On Wednesday, I wrote about the election, and noted that, historically, the S&P 500 has fared far better under Democratic leadership, even though Wall Street seems to prefer the "pro-business" agenda of the Republican candidate right now.
After Wednesday night's debate between Mr. Romney and Barack Obama, in which the consensus seems to be that Mr. Romney crushed Mr. Obama, we can see the results in action: The S&P 500 rose more than 10 points or 0.7 per cent in early trading, and futures looked strong, as Business Insider noted, during the debate.
My colleague Adam Radwanski had this to say about the debate: "As much as Mr. Romney exceeded expectations in the first of this fall's presidential debates, Mr. Obama failed to meet them."
Even Paul Krugman, who rarely has anything good to say about the Republicans, acknowledged the victory: "OK, so Obama did a terrible job in the debate, and Romney did well," he said (before, of course, skewering Republican policies).
While this is a disappointing development for anyone who favours Mr. Obama, it provides an interesting test as to how the stock market will likely respond to a Republican victory in November. Of course, euphoria about a Republican return to the White House and what Republicans will likely do are very different matters: Cutting taxes and government spending at a time when the U.S. economy is so weak might might not be so great for the economy and the stock market – although Wall Street seems to think otherwise right now.
For what it's worth, stocks have done very well under the Obama administration. Over the past four years, the S&P 500 has enjoyed an average annual gain of 12 per cent, with a 23.5 per cent bounce in his first year – though, of course, stocks were rebounding from very low levels following the bear market downturn.