With the official unemployment rate still at a stubbornly high 9.6% and the housing market still depressed, it's no wonder voters were unhappy and turned out in droves to express their displeasure at the ballot box. Recent polls from CNN, Gallup, Pew, Rasmussen -- pick a pollster, any pollster -- show the economy as the top issue for voters, so last night's election results weren't too surprising.
As widely expected, the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, while the Democrats escaped election night with a razor-slim majority in the Senate. According to Wednesday morning reports from TheWall Street Journal, the GOP gained about 60 House seats and at least five Senate seats, with a few races still too close to call.
Enough about the political winners and losers in this year's election. What about your portfolio? Which stocks stand to benefit from this shuffling of the Congressional cards?
Who is smiling today?
Companies in the health insurance, oil, coal, and pharmaceutical industries are likely to be on the list of winners, according to CNBC's chief Washington correspondent, John Harwood. In a recent interview with The Motley Fool's Chris Hill, he listed these industries as beneficiaries of a Republican win in the midterm elections.
Climate change legislation is unlikely to re-emerge in a Republican-controlled House. More importantly, with Republicans assuming the leadership of House committees, they will have the power to initiate investigations of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency to delay or block carbon-emissions-related rules and regulations, and as a result boost the outlook for oil giants ExxonMobil
In the health-care arena, WellPoint and UnitedHealth
Motley Fool Income Investor advisor James Early sees big Wall Street firms Citigroup
While less clear-cut, alternative energy companies are likely losers. If oil and coal are election winners, the future is dimmer for companies that benefit when using oil- and coal-based energy are costlier. For instance, both First Solar
A surprise loser may be Wal-Mart. According to a Washington Post report, the company's support of health-care reform angered key Republicans, so the company's political influence may be weaker than in past years.
Will a Republican-controlled House help or hurt your favorite stock, or is the government's impact on stocks overrated? Let us know what you think in the comments section. And for more on the election and Congress' impact on the market, check out:
Fool contributor April Taylor owns shares of Wal-Mart. UnitedHealth Group, WellPoint, and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. First Solar is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Cemex and UnitedHealth Group are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Chevron is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on UnitedHealth Group. The Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil, UnitedHealth Group, and Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.