It's Not the Economy, Stupid


Stocks opened sharply lower today as markets digest the news of Obama's election win. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the broader S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) are down 1.6% and 1.55%, respectively, as of 10:10 a.m. EST. That seems a bit odd; given the data that was available, Obama's reelection should not come as a major surprise.

The macro view
Conventional wisdom suggests that elections come down to the state of and prospects for the domestic economy. Was that the case in this election? If it was, it should have been Mitt Romney's contest to lose. As someone in my Twitter in feed pointed out:

Either economics was not the critical issue in this election or Romney, despite his credentials as a successful businessman, was ineffective in articulating to the electorate why he would be the superior candidate on this front.

If you're concerned about what Obama's return to office means for the economy, I recommend you read my Foolish colleague Morgan Housel's "The Best Presidents for the Economy." Morgan presents the economic data associated with each president since Roosevelt. Some of it may surprise you.

The micro view
U.S. activist investor Nelson Peltz has taken a 1% stake in French food group Danone(NASDAQOTH: DANOY) on the basis that the company has room to cut costs and be more disciplined in its use of cash. Focused on yogurt, bottled water, and baby and medical nutrition, Danone is one of the crown jewels of the French corporate sector. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it is a Berkshire Hathaway-type (NYS: BRK.B) business -- although, at 20 times normalized trailing earnings, the shares don't look like they sport a Warren Buffett-type price tag. French businesses aren't typically receptive to Anglo-Saxon activists, but Peltz is forging ahead.

Speaking of Berkshire Hathaway, if you want to understand why the stock represents a compelling opportunity now, click here to receive Foolish analyst and value-investing maven Joe Magyer's premium report on the stock.

The article It's Not the Economy, Stupid originally appeared on

Alex Dumortier, CFA has no positions in the stocks mentioned above; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Berkshire Hathaway. 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.

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