Trump stokes a new threat to Wall Street: Election chaos

Congress appears no closer to renewing expanded jobless benefits, small business assistance or injecting fresh cash directly into the hands of millions of Americans, though House lawmakers are set to make another attempt. The failure comes as initial jobless claims continue to hover around 1 million per week and 26 million Americans remain dependent on some sort of unemployment assistance.

Against that shaky backdrop, Wall Street analysts are increasingly bracing for a chaotic Election Day and a bitter battle to follow that could feature protests and even violence in the streets. The unrest could make it impossible for investors to make new market bets based on the kinds of policies that might go into effect next year, and could even exacerbate concerns about the economy sliding backward with the coronavirus pandemic still wreaking havoc on consumers and businesses.

“There are a lot of factors pressuring the stock market right now and the potential for a hotly contested result is certainly one of them, especially as we are now inside 40 days til the election and we are in a time where there is already so much social tension,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney. “This does have the potential to incite the kinds of protests we’ve seen and the metastasizing of social unrest. And investors would be more inclined to sell first and ask questions later.”