Post-Election Selloff Is No Surprise
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The market selloff Wednesday seems to have taken everyone by surprise and as a consequence looks much worse than it is. You see a wave from a distance, it's easy to be analytical about it. Riding one -- or more to the point, wiping out on one -- creates a completely different perspective.
But here's the thing: The selloff was entirely predictable, a function of pure investor psychology.
First, a few basic assumptions. One, most investors are upper middle class white men. Two, most upper middle class white men, particularly those with a sizable investment, were Romney supporters.
Before you jump all over that voting booth generalization, let me just say, in my defense, it's not conjecture. The Christian Science Monitor pointed out that 59% of the white vote went to Romney and more white men than white women voted for him.
I'm not here to rehash politics, but all that makes perfect sense to me, on a partisan level, on a social level and, yes, on the level of crass race and gender consciousness. Intuitively, it just fits: Wall Street, white men, Romney.
In addition to being investors, these white guys -- us -- are also human beings with irrational biases. We look to a candidate expecting to see what we see when we look in a mirror. And if that image, the one that looks like us, tells us, "I can make it easy for you to get rich" -- my friends, the tendency is strong to believe.
Investors see themselves getting exactly what they want. They see their avatar, Mitt Romney, white male millionaire, carrying the day so that can happen.
Mind you, no matter who won, a rebalancing would have to take place. A portfolio that is waiting, that is anticipating Democratic fail, is not a long-term plan and everyone knew it.
Had Romney won, the rebalancing would have involved a lot more happy buying -- because Romney is the avatar of the upper middle class white male investor, and he's brandishing a simple solution to make us all rich.
Obama's victory translates into selling because his message to investors was, Hey, it's complicated -- oh, and by the way, you're going to have to pay more taxes.