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Tracking the election’s impact: From securities markets to executives

obama 2012

By Flickr user Daniel Parks

Most news this week will be tied one way or another to the results of Tuesday’s quadrennial presidential election, and financial news won’t be any different.

Already, business-press writers and pundits are speculating about how the outcome will affect securities markets; USNews.com offers a forecast based on various presidential/congressional combos, while USA Today posits a year-end rally no matter what and at the same time Forbes warns of a rough start before the bulls take hold.  And CNBC reports that either candidate faces an uphill battle when it comes to the nation’s 2013 economy and beyond.

Obviously no one knows for sure how elections and the resulting politics will play out, but your audience may be wondering how election results may affect their nest eggs, their jobs and their taxes.  All big questions that won’t be answered in one week — but are ripe for a reaction round-up of experts, employers and investors who are knowledgeable about your regions industries and exposure.

First, you can talk with brokerage firm analysts, academic economists, economists at your Federal Reserve district and state officials about the industries and economic sectors that play the biggest role in your area’s prosperity.  Ask about the types of legislation and regulation (or changes to existing laws) they see as generally helpful or hurtful to these sectors.

Also check in with trade and lobbying groups for these industries.  Yes, you’ll likely get predictable rhetoric, but it’s important to get these officials, who after all represent companies your readers work for, on the record about what they foresee as a result of the election and what laws and rules they will be working to influence.  (You can check out OpenSecrets.org for leads to campaign contributions by sector, by trade group and by company to see how their donations jived with the outcome of the race, which may inform some of your interview questions.)

Here’s a survey of micro-businesses (one-10 employees) that might be interesting to replicate in your area.  And another  idea I really like and think could be localized quite handily is this CNNMoney article about corporate leaders’ wishlists for a new presidential terms.  While I doubt you would get absolute candor from executives at publicly traded companies, and even private CEOs might be inclined to rehash party issues and concerns, it seems worth asking people at the helm of a variety of corporations, firms and small businesses about what would help them the most in the coming four years.

I would press executives to go beyond abstract philosophy and ask for specifics about regulation, legislation and fiscal policy that would prompt or deter them from, say, a 5-percent payroll increase, or expanded capital spending, facilities, etc.   You could present this as a prose story or as an infographic.  You might even convene a panel discussion that could be recorded or blogged for your news organization’s website.

About the Author

Veteran financial writer Melissa Preddy served as a business writer, editor and columnist for The Detroit News from 1995 to 2008, is a Michigan-based freelance journalist. She now works as a writer and editor for a medical research unit of the University of Michigan Medical School. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Melissa Preddy

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