Debt Ceiling Boost May Slow Stocks

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- History says the eventual raising of the debt ceiling is likely to at least slow the market's recent advance.

According to Standard & Poor's, the debt ceiling has been raised 53 times since President Richard Nixon took office in 1969, and the median performances in the one- and three-month periods following the increases are gains of 0.6% and 0.9% respectively. In both cases, that's less than median appreciation of 0.9% and 2.2% in all other months.

"Could a lackluster performance for U.S. stocks lie ahead as a result of the debt ceiling debate?," writes Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P Equity Research. "Even though history is a guide, and never gospel, it warns us not to get too excited should the deal get done."

On the bullish side of the ledger for stocks, the market's technicals are promising and second-quarter earnings season is going well with 73% of the 148 companies in the S&P 500 that reported their results so far beating Wall Street's expectations by an average of 6.4%, according to CapitalIQ.

But the bears have the economic data on their side, as well as whatever the fallout ends up being if the United States ends up defaulting, putting its Triple-A rating in jeopardy.

Stovall notes how far expectations for second-quarter GDP have fallen since March, which in turn is bringing down the growth view through 2012.

"In early March 2011, S&P Economics estimated Q2 GDP growth of 4.0%," he writes. "Now, however, it sees only 1.7% growth as a result of the effects of the disaster in Japan, the worse-than-expected weather in the U.S., higher energy costs and the increase in the unemployment rate, just to name a few."

If second-quarter GDP does come in under 2%, as the first-quarter number did 1.9%, Stovall says another interesting factoid comes into play.

"Two successive quarters of subdued GDP growth were a coincident or leading indicator of economic recession," he writes. "Indeed, in the six times since 1948 that the U.S. posted real GDP growth of 2% or less, we later found out that the economy had recently slipped into recession, or would do so in the next 12 months."

As of late Monday, stocks were paring early losses stemming in part from the debt ceiling uncertainty.

Overall this week, another 180 S&P 500 components are slated to report their quarterly results, but until the Republicans and Democrats can work out an agreement, the numbers seem destined to get short shrift.

The big reports later this afternoon include Netflix ( NFLX), seen posting earnings of $1.11 a share on revenue of $791.5 million; Baidu ( BIDU), which has a high bar to clear with the stock hitting a new 52-week high of $157.82 in Monday's session; and Texas Instruments ( TXN), which already warned about its results on June 8.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com

>> Get your financial news on the go with TheStreet's iPad app.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

More from Opinion

Apple Needs to Figure Out Its Self-Driving Vehicle Strategy

Apple Needs to Figure Out Its Self-Driving Vehicle Strategy

Throwback Thursday: Tesla, Chip Stocks, TheStreet's Picks

Throwback Thursday: Tesla, Chip Stocks, TheStreet's Picks

12 Stocks That Our Writers and Their Sources Recommend You Buy Here

12 Stocks That Our Writers and Their Sources Recommend You Buy Here

Musk Goes on Unoriginal Media Tirade

Musk Goes on Unoriginal Media Tirade

What's Happening in Video Games This Week: On the Road to E3

What's Happening in Video Games This Week: On the Road to E3