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Portfolio Managers: If Democrats Win, So Will These Sectors

Infrastructure could get a bump from a change in administration — and all markets could benefit from a quieter Presidential Twitter account, according to Nuveen.

Investments from emerging markets to infrastructure stand to win if Democrats gain Congressional seats and global policies like trade are no longer negotiated via President Trump’s Twitter account, according to investment professionals from Nuveen, who spoke at an online roundtable event on Tuesday.

Investors often fear the effect of increased fiscal spending historically favored by Democrats. But investments in bridges, toll roads, and other U.S. infrastructure could benefit from a new administration. Trump initially crowed that his administration would spend on infrastructure, but little came of it. Democrats could change that. 

“A key point is the increased spending that could come with a Democratic sweep. We see upside in infrastructure,” said Nathan Shetty, head of multi-asset portfolio management for Nuveen. He added that infrastructure could offer higher income opportunities as well as a hedge against inflation. 

A Democratic victory would also be a positive for emerging markets, which benefit from global trade, the investment pros said.

“With a Democratic administration, there would be less chaotic trade,” added Tony Rodriguez, head of fixed income strategy, commenting on the risks of the details of trade policy discussions essentially being communicated via Twitter. Rodriguez added that Democrats would be more likely to work with the World Trade Organization. “That would potentially be supportive of emerging markets,” he said. 

Although certain investments would benefit from a regime change, Democrats would likely bring higher taxes to support increased fiscal spending, the managers said. But that could speed up deal-making, which would be a boon to sectors like private credit and private equity.

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Founders of smaller companies may want to sell in the fourth quarter to avoid the possibility of higher capital gains taxes, which would go up, according to the speakers. 

“I heard from one banker that if you were to get a 10X multiple [on EBITDA] now, you might have to get 13X in 2021 if certain tax changes happen,” said Randy Schwimmer, head of senior lending origination and capital markets for Nuveen’s Churchill Asset Management, which lends to private-equity owned middle market companies. “We could see a lot more activity in the fourth quarter because of possible tax changes.”

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