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These 23 stocks and ETFs will benefit from the 6 most important changes for stock-market investors under Biden

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 11/13/2020 Michael Brush
a woman sitting on a motorcycle © thomas kienzle/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The Pfizer vaccine news does not take away the need for rapid testing, since it may be a year before vaccines are available to all risk groups notes Brian Weinstein, a health-care sector analyst at William Blair.

Meanwhile, infection rates will keep ramping up this winter. Plus it’s not clear how many people will use the vaccine, because of safety concerns, says Deutsche Bank market strategist Marion Laboure. “Until a vaccine is ready or herd immunity is achieved cheap, fast tests may be the solution,” says Laboure.

For more information on Mina’s rapid test idea, click here.

Read: ‘Please, I implore you, wear a mask’: Despite positive news on vaccines, Biden warns against complacency

Even with Biden in the White House, the risk of drug draconian pricing reform is much lower when the Senate and the House are controlled by different parties. The good news is that Biden will likely preserve and expand the Affordable Care Act which is good for biopharma companies, notes Jefferies analyst Peter Welford.

All of this seems bullish for biotech exchange-traded funds iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology and SPDR S&P Biotech as well as core biotech positions in my stock letter like Seagen ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Incyte and Alexion Pharmaceuticals

President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign relations ruffled a lot of feathers. Things should calm down under Biden, says Fall Ainina, deputy director of research for James Investment Research. He thinks friction with China will ease, and that will help stocks in Chinese markets.

One of his favorites is Meituan an ecommerce platform that’s like a combination of Groupon GrubHub and Uber He also likes Tencent in mobile games and online payments.

For a broader approach to investing in China and emerging markets, consider the exchange-traded funds Global X MSCI China Consumer Discretionary WisdomTree Trust China ex-State Owned Enterprises and Schwab Emerging Markets Equity

Next, under Trump we’ve seen lots of foreign-policy surprises like his erratic approach to tariffs and NATO, sudden restrictions on WeChat and Tik Tok, and talk of limits on Chinese stocks in government pension funds and private retirement accounts. All of this has kept investors guessing, and they hate uncertainty.

“I think in a Biden administration these types of surprises will happen less often,” says Nick Niziolek who helps manage the Calamos Evolving World Growth Fund He thinks a more telegraphed foreign policy will be bullish for Chinese stocks. He favors inward-facing companies that benefit from President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on developing domestic consumption as the next leg of growth.

Niziolek cites Li Ning in branded sportswear, which is like a mix of Nike Lululemon Athletica and Under Armour He also likes a Chinese version of SAP and Microsoft in cloud computing — a company called Kingdee International Software “It’s positioned well to be a local champion,” says Niziolek.

He is worth listening to. His Evolving World Growth Fund beats the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and competitors in its diversified emerging fund category by 8.7 and 9.1 percentage points annualized over the past three years, according to Morningstar.

China’s latest five-year plan also favors biotech. Here, Niziolek likes Wuxi Biologics in drug manufacturing and research and development support. It’s a “picks and shovels” play on Chinese biotech.

European stocks may benefit, too, since many sectors there have been singled out for tariffs. This risk may diminish under Biden, says Ainina. He cites the European car makers Daimler Bayerische Motoren Werke Volkswagen and Porsche Automobile as well as ABB in robotics and electrical equipment, James Hardie Industries in building materials and Iberdrola a Spanish utility.

Both money managers expect emerging markets will do well because of all the stimulus pumped into economies around the world to fight the COVID-19 economic slowdown.

This might be bad for the recovery. But you have to wonder how much it really matters. There’s already a lot of monetary and fiscal stimulus. It is at all-time record highs relative to GDP – much higher than the amount of stimulus used during the Great Recession.

I continue to favor cyclicals in areas like banking, industry, materials, emerging markets and energy. I’ve recently cited JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America as examples, and I’d still own them despite the 10%-15% gains this week.

Since the White House controls the various federal agencies, the president can do lots of regulatory reform regardless of what Congress thinks. Under Biden, expect stepped-up regulation on banks, financials and the fossil-fuel sector. It might help consumers and the environment, and that’s a good thing. But it won’t be good for business.

I’m still bullish on these groups anyway. They are great examples of the kinds of cyclical sectors that outperform as we move into a stronger growth phase for the economy from recession. This is what will play out over the next six to 12 months because of all the stimulus.

With a split Congress, the odds of a trillion-dollar aid package to bail out state and local governments are much lower. This could be bad news for places like Illinois, New Jersey and Chicago, which had shaky finances going into the COVID-19 epidemic. Now, with lower tax revenues and higher expenses because of the virus, the debt issued by these entities looks even more dubious.

“The ones with the biggest problems are the ones that have had big problems for years,” says Lyle Fitterer, a senior portfolio manager at Baird Advisors, citing the governments above. He’s underweight their debt. And what he does own has shorter duration, which can reduce risk.

But it’s not all bleak. “You can always find good bonds in bad markets,” he says. He shops for bonds backed by dedicated revenue from things like water and sewer service.

Next, it’s still possible the federal government will come to the rescue with a more modest aid package. And troubled states still have ways to fix their budgets. “We are not in the camp that any of them are close to defaulting. They have a lot of levers,” says Fitterer.

Michael Brush is a columnist for MarketWatch. At the time of publication, he owned ACAD, JPM and BAC. Brush has suggested IBB, XBI, SGEN, ACAD, INCY, ALXN, NKE, MSFT JPM and BAC in his stock newsletter, Brush Up on Stocks. Follow him on Twitter @mbrushstocks.


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