Politics can elicit strong emotions in part because they cause people to argue over how to solve problems for which there typically is no perfect answer or solution. In investing, emotions can be your worst enemy. Taking a rational, logical approach to understanding the prospects of a business will put you in a position to make better decisions for the long term.
Without a doubt, tensions around the upcoming presidential election are high. There are strong opinions on both the Democratic and Republican sides, and both candidates use apocalyptic language -- which is, perhaps, fit for our tumultuous times. But it's best for investors to rise above the political fray and remain focused on which companies will benefit the most if either candidate wins. Here, I identify three of the best dividend stocks to buy if incumbent Donald Trump wins the election next week.
1. The New York Times
Over the past four years, Donald Trump has frequently referred to "the failing New York Times (NYSE:NYT)." However, the move to digital publishing, a network of podcasts, and a focus on investigative reporting has propelled the company to new heights. Since 2016, revenue has climbed 16.5% to $1.8 billion in 2019, profit margins have expanded, and operating cash flow -- the cash generated by normal business operations -- has more than doubled. The company may have a paltry dividend at 0.60%, but management has plenty of room to continue raising it in coming years.
It's no coincidence this has occurred in the age of Trump. The company has benefited immensely from the news-making president. In the latest quarter, aided by an upcoming election and news of a global pandemic, the company added 669,000 subscribers -- its best quarterly subscription growth ever. Not only that, but higher-margin digital revenue topped print revenue for the first time in the company's history. With a president who frequently touts television ratings, Twitter followers, and mentions in the news as evidence of success, don't expect momentum at The New York Times to slow down anytime soon if Donald Trump is reelected.
2. Eli Lilly
On the first day of the Republican National Convention, President Trump referenced four executive orders he signed in July that were intended to bring down drug prices, including insulin. "Your numbers are going to come down 60, 70%," he said. This would be an important achievement as 25% of healthcare dollars in the U.S. are spent on someone with diabetes. Because approximately 6 million Americans use insulin, reducing its price is a noble quest. Insulin costs about $300 per vial, and the majority of diabetes patients require two to three vials per month. This revenue stream is very predictable and lucrative for the only three insulin-makers in the U.S. market: Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY). The lifesaving drug has gotten 250% more expensive in the past decade.
Eli Lilly's flagship insulin product, Humalog, has given way to an "authorized generic," a company-produced less-expensive substitute. This is a clever marketing term. It is not a generic drug in the traditional sense. It refers to a new branded drug without the brand name on the label. However, a spot check commissioned by Congress found the half-priced substitute available in only 17% of pharmacies. Outrage over the lack of access was expressed on both sides of the aisle.
The current administration has previously made claims about lowering drug prices that haven't yet panned out, specifically in May and August 2019. In September, the administration outlined a final rule allowing the importation of cheaper drugs from Canada -- where insulin is one-tenth the price it is in the U.S. Unfortunately for those with diabetes, the rule excluded insulin.
With diabetes making up a large percentage of healthcare spending and little action on pricing curbs, Eli Lilly is set to continue profiting from diabetes treatment without much government intervention. If the president is reelected, investors would be wise to snap up shares in the insulin maker, which sports a respectable 2.25% dividend yield and continues to profit from the high prices of a drug millions of Americans can't go without.
3. GEO Group
One of the core differences between some conservatives and progressives in our country is their opinion on the role the government should play in providing services. One of the more contentious industries around where this argument unfolds is the prison system. About 0.88% of U.S. adults are in prison. About 20% of those incarcerated worldwide are here in the U.S., despite the country containing less than 5% of the world's population.
Ignoring the obvious problems with that ratio and what it indicates about our society, it's a big market opportunity for companies that offer private detention services -- including GEO Group (NYSE:GEO). Add with the Trump administration's emphasis on detaining immigrants and asylum seekers, there could be growth opportunities during a second Trump term. In the past three years, the real estate investment trust's (REIT) revenue has grown 4.4% per year to almost $2.5 billion.
Controversy and fears about the company's ability to access the capital markets to service its $2.8 billion in debt have crushed the stock over the past few years. Shares have fallen 75% since peaking in 2017, and in August the company announced that it was cutting its dividend in order to pay down some of its debt and remain a publicly traded REIT stock.
The dividend currently stands at 16%, a yield that the market believes to be unsustainable. For comparison, the First Trust S&P 500 REIT ETF (NASDAQ:QCLN) yields just 3.1%. But global operations -- GEO Group also operates in Australia, South Africa, and the U.K. -- and the potential for a pair of 15-year contracts for immigration detention centers in Texas and California should reassure investors of the company's viability.
The two major private prison vendors in the U.S., GEO Group and CoreCivic, made a collective 1.3 billion from contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2019, and there is likely more money to come if the president is reelected. GEO Group's founder and CEO seems to think so, having donated the maximum contribution of $514,800 to Republicans as of August and only $10,000 to Democrats. Investors seeking a high yield may want to lock up shares of GEO Group if Trump is elected to a second term.