The first of three scheduled presidential debates ahead of the 2020 election will be held Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. ET as U.S President Donald Trump goes up against former Vice President Joe Biden. The two will debate for 90 minutes in a commercial-free broadcast across several TV stations.

The main topics for Tuesday’s debate include the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy and race and violence in American cities. Two additional debates will be held on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.

How Important Are Presidential Debates? The first 2016 presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton was watched by 84 million people, the most in American history for a presidential debate.

“Roughly 70 percent of Americans said the debates would not matter much to their ultimate vote, according to a poll this month by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News,” The New York Times reports. “The survey found that 44 percent of respondents said the debates would not matter at all.”

What About The Stock Market? While some individual names and sectors may see a boost from the debate, the consensus is a winner of the debate could be a positive, due to the current uncertainty hurting the market. A contested election is also a major concern of investors. Given Biden’s current lead in the polls, a strong debate by him could be a positive for markets come Wednesday with a further lead.

The S&P 500 typically moves less than 1% the following trading day. Investors should watch the SPDRS S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

See Also: Global Investors Very Concerned About A Contested US Election

Media Coverage: Variety reports that Comcast’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) NBC, ViacomCBS unit CBS (NYSE: VIAC) and Walt Disney Co’s (NYSE: DIS) ABC have all sold out of their presidential debate ad inventory.

ABC has also reported it sold out of its inventory for the Oct. 7 Vice President debate and is almost sold out of inventory for the next two presidential debates. That could be a big positive for Disney, which has seen declining ad revenue this year due to the loss of sports competitions.

Twitter Inc (NASDAQ: TWTR) could be a strong player in the debates. People will be seeking to fact check comments and facts made in real-time and see opinions from leading political figures.

COVID-19 Stocks: With COVID-19 being one of the topics, vaccine makers could be the stocks to watch on Wednesday. Companies like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Astra Zeneca (NASDAQ: AZN) could all get name-dropped during the debate.

Trump is expected to lean heavily on a vaccine being approved by the election or end of the year. Biden is expected to highlight more testing and tracing.

Another stock to watch in the COVID-19 discussion is Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT). Shares jumped Monday after a live demo of the company’s rapid COVID-19 test was shown during a White House press conference.

Health Care: The discussion of the Supreme Court at the debate could lead to further discussion on the Affordable Care Act, which Biden backs and Trump opposes.

Biden winning the democratic primary over Bernie Sanders boosted health care stocks back in March. UnitedHealthcare Group (NYSE: UNH) and Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) could be stocks to watch Wednesday based on comments and the debate “winner.”

Photo of Donald Trump via the White House; photo of Joe Biden via Kuhlmann/MSC on Wikimedia.

© 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.



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