In any other election, you might expect that a business tycoon would receive Wall Street and corporate America’s overwhelming support if he or she were running against a career politician.
But in the (presumed) upcoming showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, that’s just not the case, according to the president and CEO of the American College of Financial Services.
“The stock market really dislikes uncertainty, and Trump is a very uncertain candidate,” Robert Johnson said in an interview with BNN. “Trump’s ideas have had very few specifics, and I think that makes it very difficult to evaluate a Trump presidency.”
Wall Street may not view Clinton as an “attractive candidate,” but the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has more support there because “they believe they know her,” Johnson said.
While Trump – who is busy at the Republican National Convention this week in Cleveland – has promised tax cuts and vowed to repeal Obamacare to help boost U.S. businesses, he has also created cause for concern in doing so.
“Some of those [promises] very much appeal to business, but how do you pay for all of that? The deficit would climb dramatically and there isn’t a plan,” Johnson said. “That’s what the Street is reacting to.”
Here’s a look at which sectors would fare better under a Trump or Clinton administration, according to Johnson:
Winners under Trump
- Mergers and acquisitions: There is currently a backlog of mergers and acquisitions due to uncertainty on whether they would be allowed. A Trump presidency is likely to usher in a more friendly M&A environment, Johnson said.
- Technology: Since many technology firms are sitting on enormous cash piles, much of the M&A activity could happen in this sector, Johnson said.
- Coal, natural gas and oil: Traditional energy sources would benefit from a Trump presidency, but would come under pressure in a Clinton administration.
- Fast food companies: Firms that rely on minimum wage labour will gain vis-à-vis a Clinton victory, Johnson said, since minimum wages likely wouldn’t increase under Trump.
- Large pharmaceuticals: A pledge by Clinton last September to crack down on “outrageous price gouging” by drugmakers wiped more than US$160 billion off the once high-flying Nasdaq Biotech index within a week. Johnson expects that a Clinton victory would put more regulatory pressure on the pharmaceutical industry.
- Cement manufacturers: If you take Trump at his word, it’s going to take a lot of cement to build that wall on the southern border, Johnson said.
Winners under Clinton
- Consumer staples stocks: Johnson said minimum wage could be raised under Clinton, which would put more money in the pockets of lower-income individuals. This could be a boost for consumer staples, such as food and beverage, since a large percentage of expenditures for this income class is spent in this sector.
- Solar and wind firms: Clinton favours solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower sources over more traditional energy sources, Johnson said.
- Gun and ammo manufacturers: “Perversely, gun and ammo manufacturers’ [stocks] will likely benefit from the fear that a Clinton administration might try to make progress on gun control initiatives,” Johnson said.
- Hospital stocks: Obamacare expansion could mean more traffic for hospitals, as more of the public takes advantage of health care.
- Aerospace and defense: Johnson said Clinton may be more hawkish than Obama when it comes to foreign policy, and this could provide a boost to military expenditures.
- Tax preparation firms: Trump has vowed to simplify the tax code, which would hurt business at tax firms like H&R Block.