The Clear Early Winners In The Trump Economy

By Bryan Rich 

November 16, 2016, 4:00pm EST

Yesterday we talked about the missing piece in the pro-growth rally in markets.  It’s oil.  A pick-up in demand and growth, tends to also accelerate demand for oil.

But the market is holding out for the November 30 OPEC decision.  They’ve told us they plan to cut.  The inventories have jumped in recent weeks, suggesting producers are ramping up production into a cut (taking advantage while they can).  And Russia’s energy minister said today he thinks OPEC members will agree to terms on a production cut by the November 30 meeting.

With that, oil spiked this morning, but fell back from the highs — still hanging around the $45 area.

Today I want to talk about the performance of small caps over the past week compared to the broader market.  If we consider a Trump economy where regulation will be peeled back, a few areas come to mind as being among winners:

Banks:  Banks have been crushed by Dodd Frank, made into utility companies.  This is the legislation that responded to the global financial crisis – where banks had become hedge funds, taking massive-leveraged-speculative bets against their deposit base.  When the black swan event occurred, they became exposed and were bailed out to keep the financial system alive.  Those days should never return, but the pendulum swung too far in the other direction on Dodd Frank.  In a Trump economy, risk taking will almost certaintly return to the banking system again.  The XLF, bank ETF, is up 10% in the past week.

Energy:  The energy industry has been crushed under the weight of clean energy policies.  Billionaire Carl Icahn, one of Trump’s biggest advocates and once thought to be a candidate for Treasury Secretary, penned a letter to the EPA a few months ago saying their policies on renewable energy credits are bankrupting the oil refinery business and destroying small and midsized oil refiners. Icahn happens to own a controlling stake in one, CVR Energy (CVI).  The stock is up 30% in the past week.

Small caps:  The common theme in the above two industries is that all companies have been hurt, but the burden of increased regulation has been far a greater economic and financial cost to small companies.  That’s why the Russell 2000 (small cap index) is racing higher in the President elect Trump era.  The small cap index is outperforming the S&P 500 by 5 to 1 since Tuesday of last week.

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