US markets for clear decision from poll
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Traders and investors seem to agree on one thing about Tuesday's U.S. presidential election: The markets want a clear winner by Wednesday morning.
The most recent poll shows a tight national race, with Democratic President Barack Obama up two points against his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, at 48 percent to 46 percent. Polling averages also show Obama with small but critical leads in Ohio, Virginia and Iowa.
Some market analysts forecast doomsday scenarios if a particular candidate wins - predictions that usually reflect their political leanings more than anything else.
But markets hate uncertainty, and having a drawn-out U.S. presidential election would be the ultimate uncertainty. Few investors on either side want a repeat of the protracted fight that followed the 2000 race between Al Gore and George W. Bush.
If we wake up Wednesday morning and we don't know the results, that also pushes off the dealing with the fiscal cliff, which is the next most important thing in our agenda, said Art Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital Markets in New York.
Markets are terrified of this next step for the United States - figuring out how to stave off the fiscal cliff, or $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that could kick in next year and send the U.S. economy reeling.
The stock market has been directionless over the last few weeks because of uncertainty about what fiscal and tax policy looks like next year, said Perry Piazza, director of investment strategy at Contango Capital Advisors in San Francisco. You could argue that just having the uncertainty behind us could lead to a bit of a relief rally.
Whoever wins, the president will also have some sway over monetary policy, even though the Federal Reserve is theoretically independent from the government. A Romney victory would throw the status of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke into doubt.
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