It's all over but the crying.
Election 2020 is in the history books -- at least, the vote-casting part is. We still have some counting to do. And now it's the day after, and investors are getting their first chance to weigh in on the results. What are they saying?
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock -- up 5.3% in 1 p.m. EST trading.
- Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) -- up 5.7%.
- CrowdStrike (NASDAQ:CRWD), the cybersecurity specialist that shot to fame after accusations of Russian hacking of the 2016 election, is up most of all -- 6.3% in afternoon trading.
Why are tech stocks moving higher? According to Reuters, this is a "safety" story as investors seek the comfort of familiar stock names that have performed well during the coronavirus crisis (Alphabet's up 28% in the past year, Microsoft 43%, and CrowdStrike 165%!).
Reuters analysts also surmise that tech stocks might be profiting from improved chances that President Donald Trump will remain in office for another four years. They've done well under his presidency so far, so the thinking goes, and the greater the chance he will stick around, the better their chances of continuing to do well.
Plus, the presidential election wasn't the only election going on yesterday. In Congress, which has been on something of a crusade against too-large tech companies of late, Reuters notes that there appears to be little change in the numbers of seats held by either party (in the Senate, the Republicans may have lost a seat; the Democrats might have gained one when all is said and done.) The more evenly the Senate remains divided, opines Reuters, the better the chances nothing much gets done to break up "big tech" or raise taxes on corporate earnings in general. So that's good news for Microsoft and Alphabet especially and also good news for CrowdStrike.
When all the votes are counted, however, I still doubt it will make much difference to investors which candidate ends up winning the White House. Ultimately, the stocks of profitable companies will prosper, while unprofitable companies will see their stocks sink.
In that regard, it's worth remembering that Election 2020 is basically over. Microsoft is still churning out 32.3% net profit margins on its business, Alphabet's posting 20.8% margins, and CrowdStrike -- while not technically profitable as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) go -- did generate an astounding $185 million in positive free cash flow over the past year (All data courtesy of our friends at S&P Global Market Intelligence).
That still means something, no matter who ends up in the Oval Office come Jan. 20, 2021.