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What analysts predict could happen to the stock market if no stimulus deal is reached

October 8, 2020, 7:12 PM UTC

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Wall Street has been waiting with bated breath for another stimulus package as many on Main Street continue to suffer. But amid a dizzying stream of tweets, comments, and talks this week, a comprehensive deal before the election is looking complicated.

Over the past few days, stimulus talks have ping ponged around after President Trump asked to halt negotiations on Tuesday. By Thursday morning, President Trump said, “I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they are starting to work out. We’re starting to have some very productive talks,” he said in an interview on Fox Business.

Those discussions may not be quite as productive as the president claims, however. While talks have restarted between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about a piecemeal deal focused on airline aid, Speaker Pelosi said at a press event on Thursday that she is “very open to having a standalone bill for the airlines or part of a bigger bill, but there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill.”

Amid the back and forth, analysts are trying to parse what a deal or no deal might mean for investors. According to Dan Ives, managing director of equity research and analyst at Wedbush Securities, a failed deal could translate to a 5% hit to the markets. On the flipside, he predicts ink on a stimulus deal would be “an incremental catalyst that could be worth another 5% of upside to the market over the coming months,” he told Fortune via email.

Talks were called off full stop by President Trump on Tuesday when he tweeted he had “instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill”. Since then, the president has said he wishes to pass standalone bills, targeting direct payments, and airline and small business aid.

“The Street could see some volatility as this game of high stakes poker takes place on the Hill over the coming weeks,” Wedbush’s Ives says.

And that’s certainly what some market observers are seeing, as the S&P 500 rose 1.7% on Wednesday after closing down 1.4% on Tuesday.

Versions of a new deal have been targeted in the $1.5 trillion to $2.2 trillion range, less than House Democrats originally proposed back in May at $3.4 trillion.

“Despite the president coming back to the negotiating table Wednesday morning, prospects for the speedy passage of a stimulus bill have weakened significantly,” analysts at LPL Financial wrote in a note Wednesday, while LPL’s Jeff Buchbinder wrote Thursday the “odds are against it.” The analysts continued “the impact on sentiment from failure to pass a bill is likely larger than the direct impact on gross domestic product, but both will take a toll on families and businesses,” although they argue “no matter who wins the election, we’re likely to get a stimulus bill of similar size.”

Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, reached a similar conclusion. “Even if a pre-election deal cannot be reached, Biden’s widening lead in the election polls is making it likelier that more substantial stimulus can eventually be agreed on,” he wrote in a note Tuesday.

For the time being, investors will need to keep their eyes glued to Capitol Hill. Concludes Ives: “It’s a jittery stock market needing some good news out of the Beltway.”