America has voted, and Wall Street is digging the results. Following the Nov. 3 election, former Vice President and now President-Elect Joe Biden is set to take office in 10 weeks.
Although Biden's tax proposal would raise the peak marginal corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, which would lower corporate earnings by approximately 10%, Wall Street appears pleased with the likelihood of Republicans holding onto a majority of seats in the Senate. A Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)-led Senate would assuredly block most big-picture policy proposals from Biden, leading to the status quo continuing.
A Biden presidency also opens the door for a number of value-oriented turnaround stocks to thrive. Turnaround stocks, by definition, have challenges that they'll need to overcome, which isn't going to happen overnight. Nevertheless, a Biden presidency puts the following four stocks on track to rebound in a big way, and in my view makes them must-owns.
If history has taught investors anything, it's that buying bank stocks during periods of recession usually works out well. That's why embattled bank stock Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is an intriguing add for value-seeking, long-term investors.
Wells Fargo has been pummeled since it announced that 3.5 million unauthorized accounts were opened between 2009 and 2016 as part of an aggressive cross-selling campaign at its branch level. The company has also recently been hit with a decline in interest income -- the result of the Fed pushing its benchmark fed funds rate to a record-tying low -- and an expected surge in loan delinquencies. But when it comes to time-tested bank stocks, the peak of the storm is exactly when you want to buy.
A Biden presidency is likely to usher in a steady recovery for the U.S. economy. Since banks like Wells Fargo are cyclical, a stabilizing economy should mean expansion of its outstanding loans and a slow but steady improvement in credit quality following the recession.
Wells Fargo also has a rich history of targeting affluent customers. The well-to-do are less likely to change their spending and investing habits when economic hiccups arise. These wealthy clients are also more likely to take advantage of multiple financial tools offered by Wells Fargo, including mortgage servicing and asset management.
At only 62% of book value, Wells Fargo is just a stone's throw away from the cheapest it's been in over three decades. That makes it a smart buy for patient value investors.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
Another company with a good shot at seeing some daylight with Biden in the White House is brand-name and generic-drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA).
Teva's list of issues is a veritable mile long. It's been sued, or threatened to be sued, over its generic-drug pricing practices and its involvement in the opioid crisis. Teva also grossly overpaid for generic-drug manufacturer Actavis, which buried its balance sheet in debt. Yet, in spite of these ongoing issues, Teva has a real chance to shine in the years to come.
Even with the likelihood of a split Congress, the Biden administration is going to be focused on ways to bring healthcare costs down and/or make pricing more competitive. That bodes well for Teva as one of the largest generic-drug manufacturers in the world. The generic-drug business isn't particularly high margin, but it is dependent on growing volume to drive cash flow. With the list price of brand-name drugs continuing to climb, we'll see an even greater focus on generic use in the 2020s.
Teva also has a secret weapon, and his name is Kare Schultz. Since stepping in as Teva's CEO three years ago, Schultz has put the company on track to reduce its annual operating expenses by $3 billion, and has reduced net from more than $34 billion to under $24 billion. With stringent cost controls and a focus on operating efficiency, Teva's more than $2 billion in annual operating cash flow could whittle its net debt under $20 billion within two years.
At less than 4 times next years' profit forecast, Teva is too inexpensive for value investors to pass up.
If there's one big-picture idea where Democrats and Republicans may be willing to find common ground, it's on infrastructure. That's what makes a turnaround stock like Fluor (NYSE:FLR) so compelling.
Construction and consultation company Fluor has faced two sizable hurdles of late. First, crude oil prices have been falling, which has been a drag on the company's energy-focused engineering and consultation operations. The other issue, which has notably been more front-and-center, was a Securities and Exchange Commission probe that led the company to restate its 2019 results. The revised results included a number of one-time impairment and restructuring costs, but certainly hurt its trust with the investment community, at least in the short term.
But there are reasons to be excited about Fluor, too. As noted, one of the few areas where a middle ground could be reached on Capitol Hill is an infrastructure spending bill. An infrastructure boom would be fantastic for many of Fluor's operating segments. It also doesn't hurt that a steady rebound in the U.S. economy should result in improved demand for its services from the energy sector, which is where Fluor generates a significant portion of its revenue.
Then again, Fluor may not need Washington's help. The company ended March 2020 with $31.4 billion in its backlog, which was only down $542 million from the prior-year period. This backlog accounts for about two years' worth of revenue, and should give patient investors plenty of confidence in Fluor's ability to right the ship.
Annaly Capital Management
Unlike the other companies I've discussed that have been dealing with scandals or lawsuits, Annaly isn't contending with any allegations of wrongdoing. It's simply been beaten up by a flattened yield curve. You see, mortgage REITs like Annaly borrow money at short-term rates and acquire assets -- mortgage-backed securities (MBS) -- that sport higher long-term yields. The difference between this long-term yield and short-term borrowing cost is its net interest margin. The wider this margin, the juicier Annaly's profit. In recent years, this margin has tightened and substantially reduced Annaly's massive dividend.
With Biden as president and the U.S. economy on a path to recovery, it would be my expectation that the yield curve will widen considerably in the years to come. That may not be the case when interest rates start rising, but we're at least three years away from that becoming a possibility. In other words, Annaly should see its net interest margin expand into potentially 2024 under a Biden presidency.
Furthermore, the vast majority of Annaly's portfolio is comprised of agency-only MBSs. Agency-only assets are backed by the federal government in the event of default. They may sport lower yields than non-agency assets, but it allows Annaly to lever-up its portfolio to take advantage of this protection.
Annaly isn't a popular stock now, but it certainly can be with Biden in the White House.