We admit we were amused at the onset of the primary season with the inclusion of Donald Trump as a Republican Presidential candidate…
We’re not as amused today as we face the increasing reality that Trump could actually (and likely will) win the votes necessary to claim the Republican nomination.
Furthermore, we think it’s very possible, despite early polls, that Mr. Trump could beat Hilary “Establishment” Clinton and Bernie “The Mad Socialist” Sanders in a head-to-head run.
Most will say he can’t win… but what if he does?
As an investor, how can you get a head start on your portfolio to take advantage of a Trump administration?
Think: Building, Building, Building
Trump’s background as a real estate developer seems to predispose him to favor building projects. For instance, there is his gargantuan “immigration wall”—a massive undertaking, considering reports that it would be nearly 2,000 miles long and up to 55 feet tall.
More realistically, Trump promised to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, particularly bridges and airports. He is so dedicated to this idea that he is willing to defund NASA’s space exploration program to help pay for it.
If Trump becomes the next POTUS and delivers on these campaign promises, there will be a lot of work going on with large federal contracts that certain industrial sectors will get a hefty portion of. Here’s a look at several companies that could benefit from a Trump Presidency.
Founded in Mexico in 1906, CEMEX has grown into a multinational building materials company. The company produces cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates, as well as asphalt, concrete block, and various precast products.
CEMEX had a tough year. Last February, the company announced that it would sell some of its business interests in order to pay off debt stemming from a pricey acquisition made during the 2007 economic downturn. Financial problems triggered by that recession-era move led to the firm losing its investment grade rating, and CEMEX stock lost almost half its value over the past 12 months.
Lately, though, things have been looking up. The company reported two profitable quarters in a row last year, the first time since 2009. Recently, Citigroup upgraded CEMEX to a Buy rating, and several institutional investors increased their positions in the company’s stock.
With the U.S. being CEMEX’s biggest market, an increase in national infrastructure projects would doubtless be a boon for the company’s bottom line.
Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE:VMC)
Like CEMEX, Vulcan Materials produces and sells construction aggregates, concrete, and asphalt. Unlike CX, Vulcan has steadily increased its revenue stream quarter after quarter, and recently shared the good fortune with its investors, doubling their per-share dividend to $0.20. What’s more, management plans to increase its dividend as earnings increase, as well as reinvest cash to foster the company’s growth and productivity.
Vulcan mainly focuses its operations within the U.S., which helps insulate the company from problems experienced outside of the domestic arena.
There’s good reason to recommend this company as a sound investment. They embarked on a cost-control program and successfully raised prices on their products, and were able to increase prices on aggregate products by 7% last year. They plan to do the same in 2016. A savvy management team used demographics to guide its business activities, concentrating their operations in the U.S. states that are expected to exhibit the most growth through the year 2020.
Martin Marietta (NYSE:MLM)
When it comes to infrastructure projects, Martin Marietta stands out among its peers. The company supplies a plethora of general building materials, including cement, asphalt, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and magnesia chemicals and lime.
In the company’s most recent earnings call, MLM Chair and CEO Ward Nye discussed how important public sector work is to the firm, noting that 41% of aggregates sold supply such projects. He expects the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act that passed in December to help increase shipments this year, in addition to various other state-funded projects. A Trump administration would almost certainly mean an even sunnier outlook for MLM.
U.S. Steel (NYSE:X)
It’s been a tough year for domestic steel companies, as cheap foreign imports battered the sector. The sector’s luck may be changing, however. The federal government has slapped two huge tariffs on Chinese steel imports since December, after regulatory findings that they’ve illegally dumped steel on the U.S. market at ultra-low prices. Investors rallied around U.S. Steel, pushing its share price up nearly 20% in the last three months, compared with a 60% drop over the past year.
Considering Trump’s pledge to institute tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports, it’s likely that domestic steelmakers would enjoy similar support if he wins the White House. If Trump’s surge in federal public works projects comes to pass, U.S. Steel could benefit greatly over the next few years.
Massive infrastructure work and enormous concrete walls require the types of heavy equipment Caterpillar produces and sells, so it’s a no-brainer that this company would get a lift from President Trump’s expansive construction plans.
The past year hasn’t been very kind to Caterpillar, which felt the pinch from a general slowdown in global construction projects, as well as the downturn in the oil and gas sector. Revenues have slumped as machine sales declined, and the company spent the past few months laying off workers, consolidating business sections, and cutting costs and expenses wherever it could.
Cost cutting isn’t a permanent solution to Caterpillar’s ills of course, but the restructuring should lay a solid foundation for the company’s rebound, perhaps by Inauguration Day of next year.
What happens if Trump isn’t the one taking the oath of office? Well, worry not—Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton floated her own $275 billion infrastructure-rebuilding plan.
While only one candidate can win the presidential race, either party’s victory will likely be win-win for these stocks and their investors.