Friday, June 6, 2008

Wall Street betting on Obama

Investing is all about betting on what the future may hold, and presidential elections are no exception. The smart money wants to be in the good books of the winning candidate and it seems the wall street is betting on Obama.

Wall Street is putting its money behind Democrat Barack Obama for president, despite worries that his administration would raise taxes and take a tougher line on trade and regulation.

The signs Wall Street reads point to Democrats prevailing in the November presidential and general election as voters punish the incumbent Republican Party for a flagging economy and lengthy Iraq war.

And the fact that Obama began raking in a bigger share of the cash as his campaign picked up steam suggests that investors simply want to back the eventual winner.

Illinois Sen. Obama, who captured the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday after a lengthy primary battle against New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, has received $7.9 million (4.1 million pounds) in contributions from the securities and investment industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, banked a little under $4.2 million.

The traders are giving the Democratic candidate an edge in November. Dublin-based Intrade, a Web site where contracts tied to real world events are bought and sold, gives Obama a healthy advantage over McCain.

That also helps explain why Wall Street cash is piling up in his coffers, even though many of his policy positions are less than popular among big investors.

Although the money flow has shifted dramatically this year, that Democrats have raised more than Republicans may say more about the nature of this race than Wall Street's allegiances.

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