By John S. McClenahen Neither Republicans nor Democrats have yet formally nominated their presidential candidates, but for all intents and purposes the race between President George W. Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., is under way. Bush's re-election on Nov. 2 would benefit energy companies and financial asset managers, believes Kathleen Bostjancic, a senior economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. A Kerry win would be a negative for drug companies and a plus for small businesses, she says. For multinational manufacturing companies and technology firms, a Kerry win would be a mixed bag, she states. The negatives: trade protection and strict environmental and labor standards. The positives: manufacturing tax break and a call to apply technological innovations to the war on terrorism. Also worth noting: The next president gets to select a successor to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who, Bostjancic points out, cannot serve beyond 2006.