Midterm Election Aftermath; Jobs; Trade (and More!)

Posted in , , , , , , By David Robinson

Regardless of the results, everyone I know is happy to have the midterm elections over. It gets so nasty that you might wonder if all the political hot air contributes to global warming. Guess not but still…. In these notes we share a few post-election observations, along with noting some other topics, including an expert viewpoint on how trade issues may impact Maine and New Hampshire.

  • Divided Government and Markets: Partisan gridlock is here with Republicans controlling the Senate and Democrats controlling the House. Our take is that the U.S. financial markets, which care more about economic fundamentals and policy, will be ok with this standoff. Trump will have difficulty getting any significant legislation passed but retains his veto power which he will use to protect the tax cuts and deregulation moves.
  • More Women Headed to Congress: Actually, it's a record. I don’t see anything but upside to greater gender balance in our national leadership. 
  • Stock Market Post Midterms: This NYT article has some interesting data showing that the U.S. stock market has “typically” performed well after midterm elections. While the pattern is encouraging, we must keep asking if these are “typical” times.
  • Job and Wage Growth: Filter out the political spin if possible, but the news on jobs and wage growth is clearly positive.
  • Maine, New Hampshire and Trade: Janine Bisaillon-Cary, President of the Montserrat Group, is one of the region’s foremost trade and international business development experts. We asked her opinion on how some of these trade issues would impact Maine and New Hampshire and she was kind enough to respond as quoted in part below:
“So far, it does not look like USMCA is going to impact Maine or NH greatly in terms on the trade front. Maine and NH are not large dairy export states and the new USMCA regulations regarding vehicle parts and their North American content and wage parameters, do not look like they will greatly affect our manufacturers…. Of most concern are the Aluminum and Steel Tariffs and a potential protracted trade conflict with China. New England imports approximately $1.6 billion of aluminum and steel products that are now subject to 10% and 25% tariffs. New England regional imports of Chinese products, now subject to new trade tariffs, topped $5 billion in 2017 (including aluminum and steel). Increases in these critical imports of steel, aluminum and component parts are driving many U.S. manufacturers’ costs up significantly. This will not only drive up costs for consumers, but also puts our manufacturers at a disadvantage in the global marketplace.”
  • Retirement Plan Limits Increasing: Looking ahead to 2019, the IRS has announced higher limits for 2019 retirement plan contributions. The more incentive to save the better.
  • Maine’s Super-Aging Population: Maine faces tremendous demographic headwinds with many potential implications, including bond ratings. Reasonable minds may differ, but we need to be careful that our state income tax structure does not exacerbate the problem by creating big incentives for higher income retired citizens to leave the state as the defeated Question 1 (Tax Surcharge) would have done.
  • Dark Roast Coffee and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s: As a dark roast coffee lover, the fact that dark roast may have some additional protective properties is heartening.
  • Health Benefits of Golf: This article enumerates the undervalued and numerous benefits of golf. More and more research focuses how important social ties, friends and family, are to our longevity, health and happiness. Not that golf is for everyone but consider taking up one or more activities that combine exercise with socializing. It could be something as simple as regular walking with a friend or any group sport.
  • Seven New England Inns: Need a post-election get away? Check out these seven Boston Globe recommendations, including one of our firm favorites, the Wentworth by the Sea.

Thank you to our readers. Please forward these notes to anyone you believe may benefit or find them interesting.


About the Author David Robinson

A wealth advisor with more than 25 years of experience in the financial field, Dave serves as Robinson Smith Wealth Advisors’ Co-Chief Investment Officer and is a Co-Managing Member of the firm. As a Certified Financial Planner® and non-practicing attorney, he provides clients with deep expertise in areas including investment management and retirement planning.
Disclaimer and Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. Our opinions are subject to change without notice as market and economic conditions shift.