Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Presidential Politics Make Investors Nervous

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Presidential Politics Make Investors Nervous

Article excerpt

With the presidential election a month away, market wags are analyzing Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's stated positions to assess which candidate would be the best for Wall Street and the economy.

But they are taking the campaign rhetoric with a grain of salt.

"I put no credence in anything they're saying at this stage of the game," said Chris Wiles of Rockhaven Capital Management in Mt. Lebanon.

Mr. Wiles explained that Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump are no different than other candidates: What they say before the election and what they do once they are in office are often two different things. Moreover, the outcome of Congressional elections could have a significant bearing on how much traction the next president's proposals get.

"Trump can't do anything, Hillary can't to anything unless there's a big change in the Senate," said Greg Melvin of C.S. McKee, Downtown.

The two presidential candidates' stated policies differ on a number of fronts. Ms. Clinton's idea of a 4 percent surtax on the wealthy and increasing the capital gains tax would be bad for investors and the economy, said Charlie Smith of Fort Pitt Capital Group in Green Tree. But even if she won, some version of her proposals would face a difficult hurdle clearing Congress, he said.

The market views Mr. Trump's trade policy - particularly renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade pacts - as negative, Mr. Smith said. He believes Mr. Trump's policies would have more trouble clearing Congress than a tax reform measure and faces the additional hurdle of getting by the nation's trading partners and the World Trade Organization.

Any prospect of post-election change unsettles the market because it keeps many business from making long-term plans until the dust settles. From that standpoint, Ms. Clinton's election might be better for investors, according to Mr. Wiles.

"In the near term, it's about the status quo. If Hillary is elected, we're probably going to have more status quo, and the market would see that as better," he explained.

Mr. Smith's biggest concern is what Mr. …

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