In the Wake of Civil Unrest in Washington, Financial Experts see Markets Remaining Stable
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (January 9, 2021) -- As the nation watched in shock as an unruly mob smashed windows and occupied the Capitol in Washington, 225 miles away Wall Street took in the surreal scene as well and the economic impact of the incursion and the response of trading remains largely uncertain.
Among the viewers on live television were brokers, investors and wealth managers whose job it is to protect client’s investments. They, like everyone else, wondered how the scene would play out in the financial markets.
“Everything that's going on saddens me, and I feel for all those so caught up in the turmoil that they are scared out of their minds – on both sides of the political spectrum,” said Bob Tiller a finance instructor in the USF Muma College of Business and Raymond James Financial Director of the Personal Financial Planning Program. “The market was still up at the end of the eventful day, because the disconnect between what plays out on the news and the long-term mathematical algorithms of the market is huge.”
The insurgency seemed to have little impact on trading during the rest of the week, with stocks mostly gaining.
The day’s events unfolded actually the night before with the election of two Democrats to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, flipping the balance of power in the federal government. But as Congress convened in a joint session to count and certify the Electoral College ballots, an angry mob aligned with President Donald Trump descended on the Capitol to protest. The scene devolved into chaos as they swept through the Capitol, stalling the procedure for several hours. Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer and a protester.
“Beyond some folks using the entire calamity as a justification for some short-term profit taking,” Tiller said, “I suspect most financial planners won't be recommending any swift portfolio reallocations.”
He expects a dramatic redirection of the stock market only if enough people are affected to the extent they change their consumer habits, which might then alter the profitability of many businesses.
“I still expect some market volatility, but no actionable economic contraction as an immediate result of an administrative change on the Hill,” Tiller said. “Whatever disturbances may develop, they will eventually run out of steam.
“For now, staying out of harm's way – and not overreacting – seems the most prudent course of action.”