Considering how much Wall Street supposedly fears the election of presidential nominee John Kerry, the market has held up pretty well during the Democratic convention. Stocks bounced strongly on Tuesday, the day after the convention began, and the market staged an impressive turnaround Wednesday after early weakness. Stocks continued to climb Thursday ahead of Kerry's formal acceptance of the nomination. Stocks showed little reaction Friday to Kerry's nomination address, a speech that was long on foreign policy and contained little that is new about the candidate's domestic agenda. Kerry vowed an end to "corporate welfare" and said he would roll back tax breaks on the rich, took an Enron potshot and criticized health care policy -- all consistent with speeches he gave previously. Perhaps investors were starting to believe Kerry's refrain that "hope is on the way." Or maybe they were looking at data from Ned Davis Research going back to 1901, which show that stocks have performed better under Democrats than under Republican administrations. In all likelihood, the market's performance this week had less to do with the Democratic convention and more to do with the latest economic news, which included volatile oil, a strong consumer confidence report and weak gross domestic product data. According to a study from Russell Investment Group, money managers are far more worried about the economic climate and "company specifics" than about the upcoming election. "Election and government policy issues do not seem to be strong areas of emphasis for
money managers," said Russell's chief portfolio strategist Randy Lert. "Managers ... largely dismissed the investment strategy impacts of more specific governmental and public policy issues such as trade policy, tax reform and the budget deficit." While concerns swirl among some investors that Kerry might repeal President Bush's tax cuts if elected, fewer than 16% of money managers surveyed said tax reform is something that would affect their investment strategy. Just 15% said trade policy factored into their decision-making process, and slightly more than 13% cited the budget deficit.