Barron’s recently highlighted a dozen stocks that are worth buying despite who wins the White House in 2020.
Political risk has rarely been such a prominent topic for investors and corporate executives, with investors are facing a particularly confusing election year. “In 30 years, I’ve never heard more uncertainty about the outcome,” Lloyd Khaner, general partner at hedge fund Khaner Capital Management told Barron's.
For traders sweating over the headlines, probably the smartest strategy is to keep political prognostication out of your portfolio, and instead focus on actual policy, Ben Phillips, chief investment officer for EventShares, told Barron’s.
Phillips picks stocks for the EventShares U.S. Legislative Opportunities exchange-traded fund (PLCY), which focuses on small- and mid-cap names. “We tell our investors to look through the political noise and look at policy trends,” he tells Barron’s. “I think people tend to confuse politics with policy,” he said.
That means investing in stocks that are likely to gain from policy changes that are already in place or scheduled to happen soon, like an increase in state infrastructure spending, legalized sports gambling, higher ethanol mandates, or tighter shipping-fuel standards. All of those trends are expressed in the EventShares ETF, which has returned 18% this year, behind the S&P 500 index but ahead of the Russell 2000.
PLCY invests in small and mid-cap stocks that will benefit from current policies or policies that are expected to be implemented soon.
Here are some themes and stocks Phillips told Barron's he thinks can perform well:
Legalized Sports Gambling
- Boyd Gaming BYD
- Penn National Gaming PENN
- Churchill Downs CHDN
State Infrastructure Spending
- Evoqua Water Technologies AQUA
- Granite Construction GVA
- Sterling Construction STRL
Higher Ethanol Production
- REX American Resources REX
- Green Plains GPRE
- Renewable Energy Group REGI
However, others on Wall Street have distinct visions of just what will happen to the market depending on the outcome.
Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones joined hedge fund managers Rob Citrone and Jeff Vinik in warning that the stock market would tank over the prospect of an Elizabeth Warren presidency, Bloomberg said.
The S&P 500 Index will drop about 25% if the Democratic senator wins the 2020 election, mostly because of concern over her proposed wealth tax, Jones said at the recent Robin Hood Investors Conference in New York, according to people with knowledge of his presentation.
Jones, citing an internal poll at his macro hedge fund Tudor Investment Corp., also said economic growth in the U.S. would fall to 1% from estimates of more than 2% this year.
Warren, who advocates for a 2% tax on America’s richest families, “Medicare for all” and new regulations on private equity, is stoking fear on Wall Street as she’s gained momentum in a huge field of candidates for the Democratic nomination.
Meanwhile, Jones said, the re-election of President Donald Trump would boost the S&P to 3,600, or about a 17% jump from the index’s recent 3,075.
The veteran hedge fund manager, who added that he has no idea who will win the election and has no strong feeling on the market, is continuing to bet on gold, he told the audience.
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