Doll Outlines 10 Investment Themes Following Trump Win

Bob Doll says the GOP sweep is poised to help corporations and boost the economy.

Late Tuesday night, when it became apparent that Donald Trump would win the presidency, the S&P 500 Index futures plummeted nearly 5%, notes Bob Doll, senior portfolio manager and chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management.

However, the following morning, after President-elect Trump gave a “gracious and pragmatic victory speech” in which he emphasized economic investments and tax reform, investors moved away from “defensive and yield-oriented sectors to economically sensitive cyclicals,” Doll says. Certainly, part of the boost was due to the fact that nearly 90% of companies have reported their third-quarter earnings, with average per-share gains beating expectations by six percentage points, Doll notes.

In the past week, the S&P 500 Index has climbed 3.9%–with the biggest gains among financial stocks (11%), industrials (8%) and health care (6%), Doll notes. In contrast, “utilities fell 4%, consumer staples were down 2% and REITS were off by 1%,” he says.

Monday evening, Doll issued an outline of 10 investment themes that might play out following Trump’s surprising win, beginning with Doll’s expectations that “equity markets may remain generally positive toward Trump’s victory—for now.” Doll attributes this to Trump’s plans for tax reform and deregulation, which will help American corporations and could certainly boost the economy.

NEXT: Pressure on bond yields

Doll, and others, expect that a Trump presidency could lead to higher inflation and a more hawkish Federal Reserve, and this will translate to an increase in the Treasury yield.

Third, Doll will be watching to see if Trump emphasizes tax reform over protectionist trade and immigration policies. The former, he says, would invigorate stocks, while the latter would put a damper on them.

Fourth, even with a GOP-controlled Congress, Trump will need to prioritize what he wants to accomplish in his first 100 days, Doll notes. Thus, he will be paying close attention to “whether it is repealing and replacing Omabacare, tax reform, judicial appointments, deregulation, infrastructure spending, immigration, trade policies or other issues.” 

As a fifth point, Doll raises three areas where he hopes Trump concentrates on to give a much-needed lift to American businesses: corporate tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending.

If these are the issues that Trump champions, Doll fully expects GDP growth, which has averaged a sluggish 2% a year since the end of the Great Recession, to considerably increase.

Sixth, “Corporate tax reform is very high on the agenda for both Donald Trump and Congressional leaders,” Doll says. “We expect Republicans will try to collaborate with Democrats on a comprehensive plan that includes individual tax reforms and will seek to pass legislation without using the budget reconciliation process.

NEXT: The deficit challenge

Seventh, one obstacle that the Trump presidency will certainly face is the $600 billion federal budget deficit, Doll notes. “This will, no doubt, complicate President Trump’s efforts,” he says.

Equity sectors that Doll expects will thrive under a Trump administration are health care and financials. On the other hand, he says, “utilities and consumer staples may struggle.”

Ninth, Doll doesn’t fail to underscore Trump’s position as an unconventional outsider. While he owes nothing to Washington power brokers, “he is estranged from key leaders in his own party and has virtually no relationships with Democrats. All of this is likely to contribute to uncertainty and volatility.”

Finally, key decisions that Trump has touched on throughout his campaign are likely to “fuel greater volatility,” Doll says—most notably the future of NAFTA, NATO, trade with China, health care reform and a continued investigation into Hillary Clinton.

“We are retaining our cautiously optimistic view toward equities and other risk assets, but it would be premature to become more aggressive until we see greater clarity around the priorities for President Trump and Congress,” Doll concludes. “That said, we continue to believe stocks will outperform bonds and cash in the coming year and think it makes sense to retain overweight positions in equities.”