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Wall Street’s wishes for new leader

Alisa Roth Nov 5, 2008
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Wall Street’s wishes for new leader

Alisa Roth Nov 5, 2008
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: All eyes, of course, are on Barack Obama. And the question in financial circles around the world is, what next?

We’re joined by Marketplace’s Alisa Roth in New York with reaction from investors there. Alisa, what does Wall Street want from Obama?

Alisa Roth: I think that the thing that Wall Street most wanted from a president-elect, it’s gotten, which is that it wanted a decisive victory. Really, the worst-case scenario for Wall Street would have been a repeat of 2000, to wake up this morning and not know who the new president’s gonna be.

I talked to Steven Wood this morning, he’s a senior portfolio strategist at Russell Investments. And he says this means the market can go back to just being a market:

Steven Wood: With a clear, decisive victor, markets are gonna go back to worrying about earnings, capital markets, credit flows — and those are the kind of things markets should be worrying about.

One of the things he said that I thought was interesting is that with a financial crisis this big, it really doesn’t matter that much that it’s Obama versus McCain, because in terms of dealing with the crisis, there just aren’t all that many options. What may be a bigger issue for Wall Street is what happened on Capitol Hill last night.

Chiotakis: Being the election, of course — there’s a stronger majority for the Dems in Washington right now in the House and Senate. So what does that mean?

Roth: Well, gridlock has a really negative connotation as a word, but in terms of business and politics, it means that changes can’t come to quickly, they can’t be too radical. So with a Democratic majority, even not a complete majority, I think that Wall Street’s gonna be nervous about new legislation, new regulations that are going through. Obviously the big, big change will be oversight to the financial sector. But in any case, once we move past that I think other industries can expect to see other big changes, too.

Chiotakis: Big changes as in what?

Roth: Well, if we get a new stimulus package aimed at infrastructure, there could be, obviously that could benefit a lot of sectors. Energy companies and utilities could really suffer if there are tighter regulations. So there are all kinds of potential changes afoot.

Chiotakis: Marketplace’s Alisa Roth, thanks for joining us from New York.

Roth: You’re welcome.

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