Brexit Stock Shock Part Deux — This Time from the American Election?


Sure, all eyes are on the election. But come Wednesday, what will we all talk about? All the negativity will be gone. The markets will cheer. We will, as a nation, be able to build and climb, with prosperity in the works for all.

Right? Well … there may be new worries on the horizon. The key watchword here is surprise.

Reuters reported Monday that among U.S. banks, heavy hitters such as J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are eyeing the possibility that come Wednesday, trading volumes and, more important, volatility may hit the Street if investors don’t like the results of the Tuesday night vote counts — or uncertainty reigns. (We’ve been there before, with Bush vs. Gore.)

In the Street equivalent of battening down the hatches, according to the newswire, Morgan Stanley has directed some staff to mull stop loss orders, which would limit hemorrhaging in equities, and advisers have been directed to present certain research to clients on the chance that election results (or, one might surmise, unclear results) hold sway over short-term trading. As gauged by options activity, reported Reuters, some traders expect a swing of as much as 2 percent up or down in the broader indices on Wednesday. Should Trump trump Clinton, Citigroup calculated, stocks could drop as much as 5 percent for Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

Conventional wisdom holds that Clinton would be viewed as a status quo occupant of the White House, while it’s pretty much an open question of what Trump might do, propose or promise if he comes into the role.

One bank, J.P. Morgan, will have higher staffing levels on its trading desks than usual, tied to Asian trading, should volumes and volatility rule the evening there (Reuters said the padded staffing levels mirror steps taken during the night and day of the Brexit vote last June).