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(Reuters) - President Barack Obama is projected to have been re-elected to a second term, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who has conceded his defeat.
S&P 500 futures dropped as results started to come in, and are now down 11.60 points.
President Obama is projected by U.S. television networks to have won key swing states, including Ohio and Virginia, which pushed him past the necessary 270 electoral votes to recapture the White House.
SCOTT SPERLING, CO-PRESIDENT, THOMAS H LEE PARTNERS, A ROMNEY SUPPORTER, SPEAKING IN BOSTON:
"We were disappointed because Mitt has such a great history of solving the types of complex problems that the current administration hasn't been able to solve. The country is very divided, which you can see from how close the vote is and how strong the feelings are on both sides. In the U.S. we have an extraordinary number of advantages that we hope the administration will focus on developing as opposed to having a class of policies that tend to diminish those advantages.
"I voted for Obama in 2008 but obviously believe that Romney would be better able to handle the problems that we're confronting. There are many in the business world who believe the same thing.
"I think it is incumbent on us to work with the administration in a productive way to deal with these issues. It's going to require a heroic effort on all of our parts to solve the deficit issues and job creation issues we are confronting. These are issues of an economy that has had an incredibly sluggish recovery from a very deep recession. The only way to have a long term solution to these problems is to have a set of policies that stimulate economic growth at a rate well beyond what we have seen these last few years."
MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN, CEO AND CHAIRMAN OF BOSTON PROPERTIES INC. AND PUBLISHER OF THE DAILY NEWS AND U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT:
"I think you're going to have constrained activity over the business community, business confidence and business expenditures. I think you're going to have a very delicate, fragile business community.
"There was at least an aspiration, a hope there would be a new administration. Now they're looking at a long time, four years, working under an administration they perceive to be hostile. This is not a formula for compromise. It is not an inappropriate reaction by the business community to be cautious."
TOM SOWANICK, CO-PRESIDENT AND CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT OMNIVEST GROUP LLC, PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY AND AN OBAMA SUPPORTER:
"Obama wins and will keep Bernanke and therefore risk asset rally. The dollar is lower tonight, evidence of continuous quantitative easing.
"We saw an Obama victory and this means stability at the Federal Reserve, focus on wealth redistribution and the Dodd-Frank bill stays put. We all know that an Obama win will mean that banks will become more regulated and a potential splitting of banking business from brokerage business--upside potential brokerage firms; no upside for banks. I also think a muni business would increase."
"I really hope so (for a fiscal cliff compromise). It's so damaging for the economy to have this continuous uncertainty hanging over it. I think hopefully we can get a deal. I think Boehner wants to cut a deal and perhaps the Tea Party movement is somewhat weakened by this... There's appetite from his side to do a deal, there's appetite from Obama's side to do a deal."
BONNIE BAHA, HEAD OF GLOBAL DEVELOPED CREDIT AT DOUBLELINE CAPITAL LP, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA:
"Looks like an Obama victory and that the Republicans will control the House and Democrats will control the Senate. The bond market may like this in the short-term but the stock market will balk. The next area of concern for the market is the Fiscal Cliff and unless something drastically changes that is unlikely to be pleasant."
MICHAEL YOSHIKAMI, CEO AND FOUNDER AT DESTINATION WEALTH MANAGEMENT IN WALNUT CREEK, CALIFORNIA:
"It is over, but the elimination of uncertainty happened on Tuesday. Now, there will be an immediate shift to government gridlock and the fiscal cliff issue. That will be a headwind for stocks. Still, it would be worse for stocks if we didn't know who the winner was tomorrow."
CHRIS TOBE, WHO ADVISES PENSION PLANS AS A PRINCIPAL AT STABLE VALUE CONSULTANTS AND IS A TRUSTEE OF THE KENTUCKY STATE PENSION FUND:
"I think the Obama win along with Elizabeth Warren will lead to more accountability and tighter regulation on Wall Street. Especially after a big shift to Romney from Wall Street, Obama I believe will be less likely to hold back on regulation this term."
COLLEEN DENZLER, GLOBAL HEAD OF FIXED INCOME STRATEGY AT JANUS CAPITAL GROUP:
"The market has already priced in an Obama win, and we're really judging that based on the lack of volatility over the last few days, so we don't necessarily expect a big move either way.
"We don't expect equities to rally expect for maybe a relief rally that at least there's some information and companies can start to make decisions.
"It's not going to be a big market mover."
"I'm afraid I think it's game over in terms of the Romney campaign."
"The one thing you've definitively and undeniably taken off the table, is whomever replaces (Fed Chairman Ben) Bernanke is 2014 will be every bit as committed to monetary accommodation as Bernanke is. So there's no chance of a Jim Grant, Ron Paul, hard-money advocate at the Federal Reserve at the end of Bernanke's term and that's a tremendous reassurance to the market.
"If Obama wins, which is looking likely, the fiscal cliff is on the table, hard money is off the table, and net-net, I think the market will say, ‘Well, we never were that scared about the fiscal cliff anyway, and isn't it going to be great to have Bernanke at the Fed for the foreseeable future.'"
DICK KOVACEVICH, FORMER WELLS FARGO CEO AND ROMNEY SUPPORTER:
"I think it will be more of the same. The President has basically run on (the premise) that his economic policies are correct. They just need more time. He's going to do what he's been doing. He will continue to increase regulation, demonize and vilify businesses and spend a lot of money and tax people and so forth. He thinks that's good and the government creates jobs and the private sector doesn't and so on.
"I just think we will see a continuation of the last four years and we will see a continuation of the last four year results. I think the economy will do better than the last four years in spite of the government just because our economy is resilient. But I think it will underperform what it could be if we had different policies."
BOB GELFOND, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF MQS ASSET MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK, NEW YORK:
"You can sort of see if you watch the S&P futures, ticking with every bit of news, down on the night. This to me means the odds of Obama winning is probably higher now.
"The policies haven't been conducive to economic growth. It means we are going to have more of the same, slow growth and more regulation and this isn't conducive for business. That's basically it. If Romney were to win I think we would see a rally. Of course, ultimately it is more complicated than that, but the view is that there would be some relief from the regulatory side.
"In a weak economy, even though it is growing still, it is frankly nuts to be talking about raising taxes, even if it is only on a small segment. It is contrary to all Keynesian dogma to raise marginal rates now.
"The sell-off may have already happened, tonight. We are already down 1 percent on the S&P futures. The odds were considered high that Obama was going to get reelected and was already largely priced in. If Romney turns it around there is more of a possibility of a rally tomorrow."
TODD PETZEL, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER OF OFFIT CAPITAL, NEW YORK, NEW YORK:
"Split governance, no matter who ultimately prevails as president, will require a lot of horse trading to get past the fiscal cliff, etc. Having said that, a series of 'kick the can' short term solutions will leave markets nervous and companies reluctant to make major economic commitments here at home. Hardly the ideal outcome for real growth or investment return."
JASON ADER, FOUNDER OF ADER INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AND A ROMNEY SUPPORTER:
Ader said with it appearing that Obama will win and the Congress will remain divided politically, he says there is the potential for not much to get done and it appears the vote is for the "status quo." He said if Obama does win, "the real challenge is for him to bridge the differences with Congress and work to get in the middle, if in fact he does win."
JOHN CANALLY, INVESTMENT STRATEGIST AND ECONOMIST, LPL FINANCIAL, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS:
"Rumors floated in the market that the polls were skewed and Romney was going to win and I think that may have sent the market up, and now that the polls are showing that President Obama will win or that it's too close to call, that may be a part of it (the decline in futures)."
TODD SCHOENBERGER, MANAGING PRINCIPAL AT THE BLACKBAY GROUP IN NEW YORK:
"Futures are selling off right now because there's a feeling we may not have an absolute winner as we go through the night. We don't want Florida to be the decision maker again, and right now it looks like we may be going back to what we had between Bush and Gore in 2000.
"It's like, here we go again. One of the issues is that Florida has an automatic recount if the margin is 1 percent or less between the two candidates. We don't want to have to wait several days for a result. What we hate on Wall Street is uncertainty. We rallied today (Tuesday's session) because we thought this mess would be put behind us.
"I'm paying some attention to the legislative races, but we would've needed to see a change in the control of the Senate in order for Obamacare to have any chance of being overruled, that's even if Romney wins. It doesn't look like that will happen, and if both houses stay under the same leadership, that suggests we will see continued gridlock."
DAVID JOY, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST AT AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL IN BOSTON:
"I expect a short-term reaction no matter who ends up winning. If Romney wins, the reaction will probably be positive, and if Obama wins it might be slightly negative, but no matter what, it will be short-lived. Soon investors will start focusing on the fiscal cliff and what progress will be made there.
"The next day or so should wash out the impact of the election, but we'll be in a state of limbo until we know the results. We've seen some volatile trading lately, but I'm not concerned about legal challenges to state results. That would really leave markets in a bind, but I don't think this is such a close race that we're counting ballots by hand. It doesn't look like Romney will win Ohio, and if he loses Florida early on, it probably won't be a late night.
"Almost as important is what happens in terms of the make-up of the congress. If we have a divided government like we do now, that will be viewed as a modest disappointment since that configuration has resulted in gridlock and there's no clear path towards unlocking that. Though this is a long-shot, if the Republicans do really well in state races and they control both houses, they might just veto everything over the next four years. That wouldn't be constructive at all. So the composition of congress is extremely important in all this, and it holds implications for how quickly we resolve the fiscal cliff issue, or whether it gets resolved at all."
Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300