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7 Stocks to Own in the Run-Up to the Presidential Election

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While political cycles are always difficult to predict, the challenge of finding stocks for the presidential election is slightly easier. How can that be, you might wonder? Believe it or not, Democrats and Republicans have quite a few things in common.

To be sure, the focus right now centers on some of the starkest differences. Toward the end of this article, we’ll dive into this contrast. However, for the most part, the messaging is largely the same: America this, America that, we’re going to go here and go there. The angle may be different but many of the beneficiaries are the same.

That’s most notable based on the taglines of the two candidates. President Joe Biden wants to build back better. Former President Donald Trump wants to make America great again. Both directives involve building stuff and that’s going to necessarily help manufacturing-related enterprises.

So, we’re not that different after all. On that pleasant note, below are intriguing stocks for the presidential election to consider.

Vulcan Materials (VMC)

The Vulcan Materials (VMC) website is displayed on a smartphone screen.

Source: madamF / Shutterstock.com

For me, Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC) is an obvious name for stocks for the presidential election. Vulcan, together with its subsidiaries, produces and supplies construction aggregates primarily in the U.S. Per the company’s public profile, Vulcan operates through four segments: Aggregates, Asphalt, Concrete, and Calcium.

As stated earlier, each candidate has an ambitious directive. And while the ideology could be miles apart, both Biden and Trump will converge on the hopes of building their vision of America. No matter who ultimately wins, the American people should emerge truly victorious. After all, whether we’re building back better or making America great again, these directives will employ workers.

For the current fiscal year, analysts believe Vulcan will post earnings per share of $8.55 on revenue of $7.87 billion. Further, the high-side estimate (which may be more believable given the broad political relevance) calls for EPS of $9.09 and sales of $8.44 billion.

Covering experts rate VMC a consensus strong buy with a $271.62 price target. Further, the most optimistic target goes up to $300.

Deere (DE)

Several John Deere vehicles are parked outside of a building.

Source: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock.com

Fundamentally, agricultural machinery manufacturer Deere (NYSE:DE) should benefit from the same dynamics as Vulcan Materials. Neither Biden nor Trump can afford to ignore America’s farmers and agricultural professionals. Given the lack of interest in the young generation toward agriculture, both candidates must talk a good game. That should benefit DE stock because there must be some follow-through.

Indeed, agriculture isn’t some unimportant category that you can show some love to on a quadrennial cycle and ignore it during the gap years. No, with global resource supply chains suffering disruption first from Covid-19 and later from Russia’s military belligerence, a robust green sector has never been more important. Thus, DE should easily rank among the top stocks for the presidential election.

To be fair, analysts project that for the current fiscal year, EPS will land at $27.29 on sales of $47.83 billion. That’s well below last year’s EPS of $34.69 and revenue of $55.56 billion. However, I’m inclined to believe that Deere will hit the higher end of the estimate spectrum. After all, in fiscal 2023, the average positive earnings surprise came out to 16.93%.

Kratos Defense (KTOS)

The front of a Kratos (KTOS) office in Silicon Valley.

Source: Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

Defense contractor Kratos Defense (NASDAQ:KTOS) is a controversial idea for stocks for the presidential election. First, Democrats and Republicans seem to be playing role reversal these days. During the Reagan administration, Republicans were known for their staunch opposition to Soviet Russia. Today, it’s the Democrats that seem more aligned with the ideology of the GOP of old.

Still, I would like to think that both candidates can’t afford to look weak when it comes to the military. Arguably the best way to support the military is to foster innovation. Notably, Kratos happens to be one of the most innovative defense and national security firms. Specifically, it specializes – among other critical categories – in unmanned aircraft systems.

Such systems have proved indispensable in Ukraine’s defense of its nation. I anticipate that unmanned aerial vehicles will shift the paradigm of modern warfare. Thus, analysts’ sales projection for the current fiscal year of $1.14 billion (up 9.8%) seems reasonable. If anything, it might be a bit understated.

Experts rate KTOS a moderate buy with a $22.63 price target. In my opinion, it’s one of the key stocks for the presidential election.

Exxon Mobil (XOM)

Exxon Retail Gas Location

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

One of the giants in the hydrocarbon space, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) engages in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas in the U.S. and internationally. Per its public profile, the company operates through four segments: Upstream, Energy Products, Chemical Products, and Specialty Products. In particular, the upstream component could be interesting based on the current geopolitical climate.

Initially, XOM didn’t get off to the most auspicious start to the new year. However, it’s been making up for lost time. Since the start of 2024, XOM is up over 10%. In the past 52 weeks, it has gained almost 6%. In fairness, at least some of the volatility could be due to the inconsistent earnings performances. In Q1 and Q4, the company beat EPS estimates. However, it fell short in Q2 and Q3.

For fiscal 2024, experts believe Exxon’s EPS will reach $8.85 on sales of $331.71 billion. Last year, the print was $9.52 and $344.58 billion. Still, the most optimistic targets call for EPS of $11.23 on revenue of $379.88 billion.

Covering analysts peg XOM a moderate buy with a $125.31 price target. That implies about 11% upside potential.

Tilray (TLRY)

In this photo illustration Tilray (TLRY) logo of a Canadian pharmaceutical and cannabis company is seen on a mobile phone and a computer screen.

Source: viewimage / Shutterstock.com

Listed under the broad healthcare industry, Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) is better known as a botanical specialist. Specifically, it engages in the research, cultivation, processing and distribution of medical cannabis products in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and other international regions. Since the start of the year, TLRY stock slipped nearly 11%.

Still, shares represent one of the intriguing stocks for the presidential election. In particular, cannabis-related securities have been moving up recently and that includes TLRY. In the past five sessions, Tilray gained almost 19% of equity value. Catapulting sentiment is a more aggressive push by the Biden administration to reschedule marijuana. Combined with public support for federal legalization, cannabis is a clear political issue.

Generally, Republicans tend to be conservative (duh!) on these and other morality-related issues. However, they can’t outright ignore the will of the people. Therefore, TLRY could have a shot at further upside.

That’s what analysts believe, rating shares a moderate buy with a $2.63 price target. That implies almost 33% upside, making TLRY one of the stocks for the presidential election.

Sturm Ruger (RGR)

a pistol on a white surface

Source: Susan Law Cain / Shutterstock.com

As a firearms manufacturer, Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR) very clearly has support from one side of the aisle as opposed to the other. However, RGR stock could be a contrarian play. Yes, Republicans support the second amendment and personal liberties when it comes to the shooting sports. However, if Trump wins his non-consecutive second term, fears of gun control will likely fade.

Stated differently, a sharp incentive to acquire firearms may not exist. Why bother when you have a staunch conservative running the show? However, if Biden wins – and especially if Democrats win big alongside him – then it’s a reasonable bet that RGR may start moving higher. That’s because liberal policymakers would have every reason to attempt to push for more stringent gun control measures.

Granted, it’s a very cynical argument and frankly, Sturm Ruger may be hoping that Biden will win. For fiscal 2023, the company incurred a negative earnings surprise of 17%. So, if any company needs panic-fueled demand, it’s Sturm Ruger.

Lake Street’s Mark Smith pegs RGR a “buy” with a $54 price target. Shares could go much higher under a Biden administration. Thus, it’s one of the stocks for the presidential election if you think Democrats can pull it off.

CoreCivic (CXW)

A close-up shot of a long, empty prison hallway.

Source: rawf8/Shutterstock

Listed under the broad label of industrials, CoreCivic (NYSE:CXW) is a private prison. Sure, the company prefers the more clinical description of providing correctional, detention and residential reentry facilities. But I say that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.

Frankly, I couldn’t think of a more controversial idea for stocks for the presidential election. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not personally soft on crime. If you break the law, you’ve got a debt to pay. It’s just that I’m not sure that debt needs to be paid to shareholders. Further, when important facilities such as detention centers are privatized, a cynical incentive exists to cut corners.

Frankly, that could lead to negative results for both the incarcerated and security officers. So, it just seems an ugly idea all around. However, if Trump takes the White House, the issue of undocumented immigration will rise to the forefront.

I don’t think I need to spell it out but if Republicans win big, CXW stock may rise due to increased demand. Interestingly, analysts rate shares a unanimous strong buy with a $17.33 average price target.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare. Tweet him at @EnomotoMedia.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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