This won't be a political post. History has shown us that the market thrives under Democrats. The market also thrives under Republicans. The fate of your portfolio isn't likely to rest on whether President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden wins on Nov. 3. However, there are certainly some stocks and industries that could be in for some more challenging times if one candidate is elected over the other.
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NYSE:NCLH) are three stocks that I think may fare poorly if Joe Biden returns to the White House. Let's go over the reasons why these three very different companies might be in for a world of hurt under a Biden presidency.
Twitter isn't doing as well as you might think for a stock that hit a fresh five-year high earlier this week. Revenue declined 19% in its most recent quarter, as the troublesome ad market is making it harder to monetize Twitter's growing traffic. Wall Street pros see Twitter's revenue clocking in with a 12% slide when it reports again in two weeks.
Twitter knows how to draw a crowd. Average monetizable daily active users have risen 34% over the past year. Ad revenue is still declining at a double-digit percentage clip due to a combination of the recession and how little marketers value a lead on Twitter. Things could get worse on the traffic front. Trump has kept internet users glued to Twitter, waiting to see what he'll do next. Biden will likely not be the same kind of agitator; he may even be boring and kind. Twitter thrives on friction, but those days appear to be numbered.
Big oil didn't fare well under Trump. ExxonMobil stock has plummeted nearly 60% since Trump was elected four years ago. The slide has helped push the petroleum giant's yield to 10.2% -- a payout that would be impressive in this low-interest rate time if it was actually sustainable.
Things could get even worse under Biden. There's no denying where Biden stands in terms of clean energy. He favors electric vehicles and won't flinch at adding incentives for more drivers to go green. Cars were getting more fuel efficient anyway, but Biden would really love to make your visits to the pump even less frequent.
Biden isn't going to roll back environmental protections the way that the current administration has in the past few years. He's all about renewable energy, and that means fewer reasons for ExxonMobil bulls to renew their energies in backing the company.
Another reason to be wary of ExxonMobil under Biden is that he's more likely to take a cautious stance if COVID-19 cases start to spike in the future. He can't order states to enforce new lockdowns, but he would certainly encourage a more deliberate path to reopening the country than what we saw under Trump. In short, we don't need as much gasoline as we used to, but we'll rely on fossil fuels even less with Biden back at the White House.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
I'm sure Biden has nothing against the cruise line industry beyond the minimal U.S. taxes they pay given their foreign-flagged ships. However, it's been widely reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to keep ships form sailing until at least February of next year. Pressure from the current administration reportedly led to the CDC extending its ban on U.S. sailing through the end of October.
The CDC isn't likely to feel the same kind of pressure to reopen the cruise industry under a Biden presidency. Royal Caribbean and Carnival would naturally suffer in that scenario too, but it would be the most crushing to Norwegian, the smallest of the three. Norwegian Cruise Line's burn rate is a lot lower than its two larger rivals, but they've raised a lot more money.
It's not just a matter of getting boats back in the water. All three cruise lines are going to have to dig deep into their coffers to woo passengers again, so this is not a good time to be small fry. If a shakeout does happen, Norwegian would be the most likely to feel the pinch.