Experts say they're often asked whether it's a good idea to make portfolio moves in anticipation of a presidential election outcome, and...

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Experts say they’re often asked whether it’s a good idea to make portfolio moves in anticipation of a presidential election outcome, and which party has historically brought the best market returns.

But investments based on such expectations amount to “casino-style bets,” says Greg Carlson, CEO of Carlson Capital Management. “Do vote Tuesday, but don’t change your portfolio strategy on Wednesday,” he says.

How the market performs under a Democrat or Republican could simply reflect a past administration’s policies taking hold, or could result from broader economic trends, says Leuthold Group analyst Eric Bjorgen.

Many experts predict continued economic weakness next year, and that could be the case no matter which party wins today’s election.

Research doesn’t make a clear case for either party. Bjorgen’s analysis, looking at the Dow Jones industrial average since 1944, shows only modestly better average annual returns under Republicans, at 7 percent, compared with 6.7 percent for Democrats.

A Morgan Stanley study earlier this year, using the Standard & Poor’s 500 since 1901, showed slightly better returns for Democrats, 6.7 percent versus 4.6 percent.

Experts say the tax policies of new administrations could affect investors, though they note a candidate’s proposals might not make it into law.

Kimberly Sterling, president of Resource Consulting Group, says she encourages clients to consider executing trades they had already planned for this year “while they have the certainty of a 15 percent tax bracket” for capital gains.

She believes taxes could rise under either administration, as the budget deficit is growing.