(Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill on Thursday to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with a Republican healthcare plan, handing President Donald Trump his biggest legislative victory but setting up a tough fight in the Senate.
STEPHEN WOOD, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, RUSSELL INVESTMENTS, NEW YORK:
“This strikes to me that the market is breathing a sigh of relief more than a nod of approval. I think there will be progress on individual and corporate tax cuts but they will come at the end of 2017. This will be positive for the economy and markets. We think there will be ‘knots in the floss’ to get legislation done. We expect to see more sloppiness in the legislative process so you have to focus on fundamentals. Valuation is currently very high in the equity space. The outlook for the United States is good, but we need very good fundamentals to justify current equity valuation. Europe is increasingly interesting from an equity perspective. One would be more comfortable with Europe compared with the U.S.”
”Elections have consequences, and I think that this is the very first manifestation of it. It would be foolish to say that it doesn’t reinvigorate Trump because ... earlier this week the main headlines were that the budget was an Obama-type budget instead of anything that was promised during the campaign.
“Once Republicans develop cohesion you are going to see more of a domino effect. It’s like, ‘We all got onboard with this (healthcare reform), what’s stopping us from trying to get money for the wall or having tax reform that’s going to be agreeable to the president’s agenda?’ So I think that it does in some way invigorate it.”
GUY LEBAS, CHIEF FIXED INCOME STRATEGIST, JANNEY MONTGOMERY SCOTT, PHILADELPHIA:
“What is a bit lost in the perception that House’s healthcare reform bill is positive for financial markets is a proposed repeal of a surcharge of roughly 3.9 percent on investment income on high-income individuals, which is in the Affordable Care Act. Now this bill goes to the Senate. For the market, the odds of passage of at least this version of ‘repeal-and-replace’ in the Senate isn’t very high. It’s going to a tough sell in the Senate. This is largely a non-event for the bond market. It’s more gearing up for tomorrow’s jobs report and what Yellen might say.”
RANDY FREDERICK, VICE PRESIDENT, TRADING AND DERIVATIVES, CHARLES SCHWAB, AUSTIN, TEXAS:
”I think anything that they (Republicans) get done, that they accomplish, popular or unpopular, will show that they have the ability to make progress and to get things done and work together. Because obviously the biggest divisions are not between the Democrats and the Republicans but within the Republican party.
“This puts the idea of tax reform a little bit closer to reality, simply because it’s shown that they have figured out a way to negotiate and work together.”
JOSEPH KRIST, PARTNER, CREDIT SPECIALIST, COURT STREET GROUP RESEARCH, NEW YORK:
“It means that it satisfies those members of Congress who have made this a primary campaign issue and want to say they want to repeal Obamacare and we voted to did it. From a policy standpoint it is virtually meaningless. The bill from everything I have seen is virtually impossible to pass in the Senate.”
“I don’t think this really should have any impact. The fundamentals driving people’s healthcare ideas came before the election. People looking at small standalone and rural hospitals, saw they were wall badly positioned for healthcare reform going forward, whether it be because of Obamacare, should it remain, due to cost reduction measures. And conversely people were looking at size as a really important factor, whether a large institution or large chains. The consolidation was already coming whether repealed or not. It is not really a big factor from a public finance fixed income perspective. You still want big balance sheets, large pools of cash and diversity revenues.”
“This morning going in the market was expecting the House was going to pass it and it did.”
“This is just one of several different things Trump is trying to get accomplished. This is out of the way and now they have to go to tax reform. That’s something that’s going to drag out for a while and probably the next key thing, aside from the geopolitical things that are going on.”
“As far as traders and investors I talk to, this (healthcare bill) isn’t affecting their position or what they want to do.”
RICK MECKLER, PRESIDENT, LIBERTYVIEW CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY:
”The fact that they could pass this doesn’t make much of a difference. The real risk in the near term to the so-called Trump rally was a failure to pass it.
”I don’t know if this market is really that focused on healthcare as the big issue. I think they’re really focused on the tax plan. If they couldn’t pass the healthcare, it would bode very poorly for the tax plan.
“But the fact that they could pass the healthcare, even pass it in the House, and pass it so narrowly, I don’t think it necessarily means the tax plan is more likely to come through.”
KEN POLCARI, DIRECTOR OF THE NYSE FLOOR DIVISION, O’NEIL SECURITIES, NEW YORK:
”It passes the House, that’s fine, now it goes to the Senate, and we know in the Senate it is going to have a very tough time. So even though it has passed the one, it is certainly not a done deal yet. Obamacare is still very much alive and intact.
”The market has really been flat. I don’t necessarily think this is such a surprise, after all the news reports today and yesterday, people were expecting it. They are all high-fiving and cheering and all that stuff in the Congress but it still has to go to the Senate and that is where it is going to run into some problems.
“The market is again biding time, there is no reason it’s not really taking off, we are hitting our head at the ceiling, we have been hitting our head on the ceiling. If anything it is going to cause it, the catalyst is going to be the (French election) Sunday night. It is listless trading at the moment, nobody is making big huge bets one way or the other.”
STOCKS: S&P 500 remains little changed on the day
BONDS: 2- and 10-year Treasury yields hold higher on the day
FOREX: The dollar index ticks down to the session low
Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300