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October 2022 / VIDEO

Midterm Election Preview: What Investors Need to Know

Regardless of the election's outcome, federal agencies will be an important tool for Biden to advance his policy priorities.

Key Insights

  • Midterm elections could shift the balance of power in Congress, limiting the Biden administration’s ability to pursue its agenda through legislation.
  • In a divided government, battles over extending the debt ceiling could roil the market, especially if the economic backdrop remains challenging.
  • Regardless of the election’s outcome, federal agencies will be an important tool for Biden to advance his policy priorities.

Transcript

U.S. election season is upon us once again.

Recent legislative wins appeared to give Democrats a bit of momentum heading into the midterms.

But history and economic worries suggest the odds favor Republicans winning a majority in at least the House.

Let’s explore what the different outomes could mean for U.S. policy and investors.

A Republican majority in the House would likely lead to congressional gridlock. In this scenario, both parties would struggle to push through legislation that’s outside the normal course of business.

The stage could also be set for battles to extend the debt ceiling or fund the government. That could unsettle markets, especially if the economic backdrop is challenging.

We would also expect more restraints on government spending. Defense, however, could be a possible exception.

House Republicans would likely step up oversight hearings and investigations of the Biden administration. The president could also face demands to be more hawkish toward China.

If Republicans were to take the House and the Senate, these pressures would increase. Biden’s ability to confirm new federal judges and agency heads would also be constrained.

And if Democrats win a majority in the House and the Senate?

Extending the debt ceiling wouldn’t be a battle. And we could see a push to increase spending on social programs. Adjustments to tax policy could also be in the offing.

No matter how the election turns out, investors should pay close attention to what the federal agencies are doing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to be active in rule-making.

New disclosure requirements related to climate change are coming down the pike. Greater oversight of cryptocurrencies could also be a priority.

What about big tech?

The Federal Trade Commission is working on data privacy rules. We believe their impact on large tech companies should be manageable. We could see antitrust lawsuits regarding some of big tech’s business activities. However, these cases would take a significant amount of time to reach a decision. The outcomes are also far from clear-cut.

In health care, the administration may seek to expand access to insurance via the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. That could boost demand for health care products and services. Some managed care companies could also benefit.

A lot can change in the runup to Election Day. We’ll run down everything that investors need to know after the results are final.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This material is being furnished for general informational and/or marketing purposes only. The material does not constitute or undertake to give advice of any nature, including fiduciary investment advice, nor is it intended to serve as the primary basis for an investment decision. Prospective investors are recommended to seek independent legal, financial and tax advice before making any investment decision. T. Rowe Price group of companies including T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and/or its affiliates receive revenue from T. Rowe Price investment products and services. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment and any income from it can go down as well as up. Investors may get back less than the amount invested.

The material does not constitute a distribution, an offer, an invitation, a personal or general recommendation or solicitation to sell or buy any securities in any jurisdiction or to conduct any particular investment activity. The material has not been reviewed by any regulatory authority in any jurisdiction.

Information and opinions presented have been obtained or derived from sources believed to be reliable and current; however, we cannot guarantee the sources' accuracy or completeness. There is no guarantee that any forecasts made will come to pass.

The views contained herein are as of the date noted on the material and are subject to change without notice; these views may differ from those of other T. Rowe Price group companies and/or associates. Under no circumstances should the material, in whole or in part, be copied or redistributed without consent from T. Rowe Price.

The material is not intended for use by persons in jurisdictions which prohibit or restrict the distribution of the material and in certain countries the material is provided upon specific request.

It is not intended for distribution to retail investors in any jurisdiction.

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© 2022 T. Rowe Price. All Rights Reserved. T. ROWE PRICE, INVEST WITH CONFIDENCE, and the Bighorn Sheep design are, collectively and/or apart, trademarks of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.

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