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The stock market and the presidential election appear to be on a collision course for November, as both sides of each are stalemated. President Bush and Sen. Kerry are essentially tied in the battle for the White House, just as bulls and bears are tied in the battle for control of the market.
A major test for both comes this week. The presidential candidates meet in Miami Thursday for a debate that could make or break their campaigns to sway undecided voters. Meanwhile, corporate CEOs meet with their staffs to exhort quarter-ending purchase orders from undecided customers.
The interesting thing now is that the two efforts are so intricately intertwined. A wide range of companies are likely to do better or worse from 2005 through 2008, depending on which candidate wins.
The national scale of both efforts can be rather daunting to analyze. So this week I'd like to reprise two earlier columns -- "
Baffled By the Global Economy? Go Local
" from May 13 and "
Stocks That Swing With Bush or Kerry
" from Sept. 2 -- by trying to narrow the dual election/earnings seasons down to a local scale.
For an assist this time, I am leaning on analysis from International Strategy & Investment Group in New York. Not long ago, ISIG deftly divided the two races into a Bush Index and a Kerry Index. The company assigned weights to sectors to denote how much they might gain or lose in the event of the respective candidates' victory. In my version, I will show how the two races look from the perspective of an investor in the state of Washington.