Whether you are a Republican, Conservative, Democrat, Liberal, Progressive, or Libertarian - one thing that all can agree on regarding this recent election: it was a ghastly, "roll-in-the-mud", coyote-ugly affair on all sides. Presidential debates degraded in quality and statesmanship until they were simple name-calling contests. Rather than espouse policies and proposed programs, the candidates laser-focused on the shortcomings of their counterpart. Never in the history of Presidential debates had so much of the program ended up focused on "mud-slinging" at their political adversary, rather than focusing on the hope and promise of what their own candidacy proposed to bring to the Presidency.
Moreover, each of the major two candidates suggested there might be very solid reasons why their opponent should be placed in jail, rather than elevated to the Oval Office, an unprecedented level of aggression and hubris.
Historians have chronicled the world outrage that occurred in 1960 when Nikita Kruschev angrily pounded his shoe on the podium in anger at the United Nations General Assembly, decrying "stooges of American Imperialism", but this election came close to that level of accusatory bile and acrimony, stopping just short of using footwear as a virtual gavel in the process. It resembled what one might expect from a third-world country, still struggling to understand what democracy entailed, more than the contest for the most powerful position on earth in a storied democratic confederation like the United States of America.
"Fake news" reports sprang up in support of extremist views on all sides of the political spectrum, and with Reuter reporting that 44% of all US adults get at least some of their daily news input from Facebook, a source that requires no fact-checking, no validation of stories or sources, no journalistic credentials, so what was factually "true" had never had so much competition from what was "trending" - so electors believed what they chose aligned best with their political leanings, regardless of how falacious the stories were on all sides. I read reports that claimed with utter certainty that Obama's children were not his own, that Hillary was the functional head of ISIS, and that Trump was a "stooge" of the Russian mafia, beholden to them for hundreds of millions in debt.
And in the end, after an election that deeply divided this country like none before it, Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th President of the United States of America.
Without taking any position on whether that was a positive or negative outcome, let us instead focus on the likely impact on US businesses that this Administration is forecasted to have:
1) Oil and Gas Industry: Trump has gone on record as being in favor of "energy independence" and against over-regulation of hyrdrocarbon exploration, and that should be a windfall for Natural Gas and Oil firms.
2) Defense Industry: Trump has repeatedly vowed to re-invigorate some of the aging assets in the military, both nuclear and non-nuclear, and with a Republican controlled Congress, this looks like a sure bet.
3) General Construction Industry: Again, with vows to "rebuild our crumbling infrastructure", heavy construction equipment and materials suppliers should see a windfall
4) Big Pharma: There had been an enormous push, led by a democratic White House, to go after critical drug providers guilty of obscenely escalating life-saving drugs, in some cases over 500% in six years. Trump generally opposes regulation of free enterprise, allowing these practices to likely continue
5) Private Prison Operators: Clinton had vowed to shut down such operations after a few "bad actors" among the dozens were caught in rights violations against prisoners. Trump has no such plan, so some of these public companies that run the private detention facilities saw their stocks climb over 30%.
1) The Automotive Industry: Trump has threatened to place a universal 30% tarriff on goods coming from Mexico and China, to name two frequent US trade partners. Many of the sub-systems and components used in Detroit are manufactured in one of those two countries, potentially vastly damaging their worldwide competitive cost profile.
2) The Guns and Munitions Industry: With Clinton promising significant tightening of the current rules on certain types of guns and munitions if she were elected, analysts had projected a "run" on such products that would have nearly emptied shelves of specific semi-automatic weapons, ammunition, and related home defense peripheral products. Now such a "run" is not necessary, with Trump promising to veto any such legislation.
3) The Medical Services Industry: With "Obamacare" almost certain to fall into the "repealed legislation" category with the composition of the House and Senate combined with Trump's distaste for it, it seems clear that in its place will come a system promoting more competition on price/cost, lowering margins for doctors and hospitals in general.
4) The "Import-Export" Industry: In fact, not only this sector, but any industry that relies heavily on foreign sourcing of products, parts, and components. Trump has, at various times, claimed to be in opposition of NAFTA (North American Free Trade), TAFTA (European Union Free Trade), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Australia, Japan, Vietnam, others). One popular "short" on Wall Street right now is Walmart, due to their extensive use of outsourcing beyond American borders.
5) The "Green Movement" on Energy: With Trump advocating lesser regulation, both in terms of pollution and in terms of prohibiting certain regions from drilling and exploration, this will definitely HELP the Oil and Gas sector, and hurt Solar, Wind, and Geothermal energy products and services providers.
So there you have it. A brually divisive election, but as there always are, there are "winners" and "losers" on the economic scoreboard to think about when you think about investing equity in 2017 and beyond.