It's time for investors to prepare for change under Barack Obama.
No, the Wall Street meltdown isn't over. Main Street is still sinking into a recession. Portfolios are still getting hammered. But there's no doubt the new president will create different economic conditions that could present opportunities for investors savvy enough to spot upward trends.
Barring a major international incident or terrorist attack, few doubt that Obama's first order of business as chief executive will be to address the country's economic crisis. Ideally, analysts say, bold new leadership will bring a new sense of optimism.
"If Obama comes in, regardless of what people think of Republicans and Democrats, and he changes the confidence of people, then that will basically cause them to spend more, and that basically is what's going to cause things to turn around," said Anu Sharma, the managing director of the Nasdaq Market Intelligence Desk.
Any new direction will be welcome after the malaise of President Bush's second term, said Robert Johnson, the associate director of economic analysis at Morningstar, an investment research firm.
"We haven't had a leader for a few years," he said. "Bush was so wrapped up in the war, he's providing zero leadership on this economic front."
Backed by solid Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, Obama clearly has the opportunity to make substantive changes. He is entering office at a time when even his political opponents no longer view government as solely an impediment to economic growth. Though Obama will be constrained by the weakened economy, the political climate in the wake of the crisis on Wall Street might give him latitude to regulate and spend in a way that hasn't been seen since the Carter administration.
MSN Money has looked at some Obama proposals that could bring rapid growth to five sectors of the economy. Some of these areas were likely to grow no matter who became president. But Obama might accelerate their growth. A couple of others will rely more heavily on government support.
In his campaign platform, Obama called the Bush White House "one of the most anti-science administrations in American history." That assessment rests in part on Bush's 2001 edict limiting the federal government's role in stem-cell research. Now that Obama will be assuming office, the biotech sector is expecting a change of fortunes.
"We're quite aware of the fact that Senator Obama is in favor of an end to the ban," said James Greenwood, the president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a consortium of biotech companies, universities and investors that specialize in medical science.