It's officially crunch time on the campaign trail. In just 19 days, Americans will head to local voting booths or mail their ballots to determine who will lead the U.S. for the next four years.
As we learned in 2016, a lot can happen over the final weeks of an election. However, polling has consistently shown Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden with a notable lead nationally and in swing states over incumbent Republican Donald Trump. Though victory is far from guaranteed, Biden's policy proposals could seriously impact the growth trajectory for a number of sectors, industries, and companies.
Hypothetically speaking, if Joe Biden wins on Nov. 3, the following five stocks become no-brainer buys.
Perhaps the most logical beneficiary of a Biden presidency is the renewable energy industry. Trump has relaxed a number of environmental protections during his presidency. Biden has made clear that he plans to reinstate those protections and focus on cleaner energy sources.
Electric utility stock NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) is on the leading edge of renewable energy innovation. No utility is currently generating more capacity from solar or wind power than NextEra. The lack of competition has been pivotal in driving down its electricity generation costs. Though these investments in renewables aren't cheap, NextEra's growth rate is considerably higher than those of its peers. Plus, its industry leadership puts the company on track to front-run any potential policy changes in Washington, D.C., regarding fossil fuel usage by utilities.
Don't overlook the likelihood that interest rates will remain low regardless of who's elected in 19 days. Low lending rates are important since NextEra uses debt to finance a number of its renewable energy projects.
If elected, Biden has promised to overhaul the U.S. individual and corporate tax code, albeit not to the same degree that we saw Donald Trump do so via the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In particular, Biden wants to increase the peak marginal corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as well as move the peak marginal individual tax rate from 37% back to 39.6%.
One obvious beneficiary of corporate and individual income tax changes is software company Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU). Intuit has three core business segments, but is best known for its QuickBooks accounting solutions, as well as its do-it-yourself TurboTax income tax preparation software. Significant changes to the tax code almost always bode well for Intuit because small businesses and individual taxpayers rely on the company to handle their most pressing questions and concerns.
Then again, Intuit has developed quite the history of meeting or beating lofty expectations, no matter which party is in charge. With a high-margin focus on desktop and cloud-based software, Intuit has consistently produced operating margins in the mid-to-high 20% range over the past five years.
A Biden presidency would probably mean an uptick in federal spending on infrastructure projects, some of which would be geared at getting the U.S. economy back on its feet following the biggest contraction in gross domestic product in decades. A substantial uptick in infrastructure spending could be just what the doctor ordered for engineering and consulting firm Fluor (NYSE:FLR).
You see, Fluor has been a bit of a mess, with the company undergoing an internal investigation that uncovered a number of cost-recognition errors. Ultimately, Flour restated its operating results between 2016 and 2019, as well as delayed its 2020 quarterly operating results. The company also suspended its dividend to conserve capital.
None of this sounds like good news, but the amount restated each year was relatively small, all things considered. Further, Fluor was awarded $12.6 billion in new contracts for its government and continuing operations last year, and ended 2019 with a backlog that stood at $31.9 billion (that's about two years' worth of revenue). If Biden and Congress were to open the proverbial federal coffers to reignite economic growth, Fluor's new awards and backlog could grow stronger.
Kirkland Lake Gold
Gold stocks could be another no-brainer buy if Biden is victorious. Biden is far more likely than Trump to increase federal spending to fix the U.S. economy. In doing so, we could continue to see the federal deficit and national debt levels grow. When coupled with historically low lending rates that should remain very low for years to come, the table appears set for physical gold to thrive.
No company in the gold mining industry has a more pristine balance sheet than Kirkland Lake Gold (NYSE:KL). In an industry known for going overboard in the early 2010s and piling on debt to take advantage of the rising gold price, Kirkland Lake Gold ended June with $537.4 million in cash and no debt. This is also a company that doubled its quarterly dividend earlier this year, and has repurchased close to $380 million worth of its common stock through June.
Aside from having the best balance sheet, Kirkland Lake's three producing assets are among the most efficient in the industry. During the second quarter, all-in sustaining costs came in at $751 per gold ounce. That equates to a cash operating margin of better than $1,100 an ounce, based on the current spot price for gold.
A Biden presidency could prove a golden opportunity for Kirkland Lake shareholders.
Biden doesn't favor Medicare for All; instead, he wants to build on Barack Obama's flagship legislation, the Affordable Care Act. For-profit healthcare companies will breathe a sigh of relief if Biden wins, but innovative players will be the real winners.
The no-brainer healthcare buy here is telemedicine kingpin Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC). Virtual visits with a physician were already picking up steam before the coronavirus, but they're skyrocketed over the past two quarters. In the second quarter, total visits for Teladoc surged 203% from the prior-year period.
What's particularly noteworthy about virtual visits is their benefit up and down the healthcare industry. Benefit providers prefer telemedicine visits because they're usually cheaper than in-office appointments. Teladoc is also making it possible for patients and physicians to "meet" from anywhere, which plays right into the personalized/precision medicine theme that will likely dominate the 2020s.