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Waiting for the Relief Rally


Good morning.

I’m skeptical election jitters have caused people to stop downing donuts, as Dunkin Brands CEO Nigel Travis claimed on a recent earnings call. But I know many business leaders share Travis’ sentiment when he said: “We’ll all be pleased when that’s passed.”

Election 2016 deserves many superlatives – nastiest, seemingly longest, most bizarre, most disturbing, least uplifting and yet most entertaining for an American public fascinated by its car wreck qualities. But among the many has been the fact it has been unmatched in post-World War II history for anti-trade, anti-globalization, anti-business, and anti-capitalist rhetoric. No surprise business nerves are rattled.

So what can we expect when it ends? Certainly a sigh of relief, and possibly a positive response from the economy and markets. The jobless report out today showed that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are strong, and there are signs that the earnings drought of the last five quarters may be easing. Confidence is a hard thing to measure or predict, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a swing in sentiment that boosts markets and business investment once the long election nightmare is over. (That’s assuming, of course, that Russian hackers don’t push the election process into some sort of constitutional crisis.)

Meanwhile, today’s big news is that China’s Dalian Wanda is paying $1 billion to buy one of the most American firms in Hollywood: Dick Clark productions, which owns broadcasting rights for the Golden Globe Awards, the New Year’s countdown in New York, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the Miss America pageant.

I wonder what Donald Trump will say about that?