Like many people on Wall Street, James O'Shaughnessy is hoping for a Mitt Romney victory in today's Presidential election. O'Shaughnessy, whose eponymous firm manages over $4.9 billion, has donated to Romney's campaign, according to public filings. He believes the Republican will have an easier time breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington.
"A Romney election makes it easier" for Congress to address the fiscal cliff and other fiscal policy issues, O'Shaughnessy tells me in the accompanying video. "Romney has already expressed a willingness to work with Democrats, and could get something done."
That said, O'Shaughnessy concedes a Romney victory would likely mean a less supportive monetary policy for stocks. Romney has already pledged to not reappoint Ben Bernanke to another term. (Since then, Bernanke has reportedly said he won't seek a third term no matter who wins the election but Romney is likely to appoint a more hawkish Fed chairman than President Obama.)
Furthermore, the money manager and What Works on Wall Street author believes the fiscal cliff will be addressed no matter who emerges victorious from this contentious election. "Whether Democrat or Republican, politicians are not suicidal," he quips. "If Obama's reelected, he doesn't have to play to his base anymore. If he's reelected he can play the statesman."
To O'Shaughnessy, "playing the statesman" means Obama would be more willing to work with House Republicans to address the fiscal cliff, perhaps reviving the "grand bargain" the President allegedly had with Speaker John Boehner last summer. O'Shaughnessy further hopes a reelected Obama might revisit the Simpson-Bowles plan, which the President commissioned but then didn't support.
Despite his Republican leanings, O'Shaughnessy is confident the stock market will continue to rally no matter who emerges as the victor tonight — the potential for an inconclusive vote notwithstanding.
"The conditions remain relatively good for stocks," he says. "I think [who wins] matters but it matters a lot less than many people would surmise."
O'Shaughnessy declined to discuss specific stocks but says he's particularly bullish now on global dividend stocks, provided they have strong balance sheets and trade at attractive valuations.
"That's a great [strategy] going forward under any administration," he says. "It doesn't matter where a company is domiciled — as long as you avoid most financials, which we do. "
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