llustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Midterm elections have historically been a no-lose scenario for stocks. Dating back to the 1950s, the S&P 500 has always been higher a year after the midterms, no matter the outcome. According to Capital Ideas, stocks in the year following midterms have performed twice as well as other years.

The bottom line: Markets may shrug if there is a Democratic sweep, because the next Congress is "very unlikely to undo the major market-impactful legislation that has already been passed under President Trump," like tax cuts, strategists at UBS point out.

If Republicans maintain control, stocks could jump higher temporarily, Art Hogan, a strategist at investment firm B. Riley FBR said, because investors will think "here comes more deregulation, and tax cuts 2.0 — but then they will realize we might have more work to do than that."

The impact on the economy is more uncertain.

  • If Democrats take the House and the Senate, brace for "slower economic and employment growth," since it eliminates the possibility of another tax-cut boost to the economy, John Herrmann, who heads up interest rate research at MUFG Securities, wrote in a note.
  • Gridlock won't "capsize the economic boat," S&P Global's chief economist Beth Ann Bovino wrote in a research note, but it will create big questions around government spending, which boosts economic growth.

What to watch: The midterms are in "second place" on investor's minds after worries about China and trade, Hogan said.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:15 p.m. ET: 21,261,598 — Total deaths: 767,054— Total recoveries: 13,284,647Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:15 p.m. ET: 5,324,930 — Total deaths: 168,703 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes — Patients grow more open with their health data during pandemic.
  4. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  5. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  6. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

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