Funds That Could Profit From Clinton, Obama in Office

The recent article "If McCain Wins, So Could These Funds" looked at investments that could do well if the current Republican front-runner were to capture the White House this fall.

This article explores the same theme on the Democratic side with the party's current front-runners, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

If Gov. Mike Huckabee gains substantial ground in the Republican race, we will then look at funds that would be attractive during a Huckabee administration.

On the Democratic side of the presidential campaign race, the momentum is with Barack Obama.

His victories this week in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia bring him closer to the nomination -- at least for now.

If Obama wins the nomination and presidency, his Web site calls for $150 billion over 10 years to be invested in clean energy advances in biofuels and plug-in hybrids as well as the doubling of research and development funding for biomass, solar and wind power. His goal is 25% renewable electricity generation by 2025.

The fund pick for an Obama administration is PowerShares Wilderhill Clean Energy Portfolio ( PBW). A third of this ETF is invested in alternative-energy stocks such as First Solar ( FSLR), Ascent Solar Technologies ( ASTI), Sunpower ( SPWR) and FuelCell Energy ( FCEL).

Clean energy would also be a Clinton priority.

Obama has repeatedly attacked the influence of lobbyists in Washington, D.C., and promised tax-code changes that may impact the profitability of these big corporations.

According to opensecrets.org , the top two industries ranked by lobbyist expenditures for 2007 were $114.3 million from pharmaceuticals/health products and $70.4 million from the insurance sector.

Obama's desire to bring down prices may hurt companies such as Pfizer ( PFE), Eli Lilly ( LLY), and Forest Laboratories ( FRX). These are holdings of the SPDR Pharmaceuticals ETF ( XPH), which may not fare well in an Obama administration.

The health-care plan submitted by Obama relies on forcing price cuts through the insurance industry without mandating that everyone join up. Clinton claims that would leave out 15 million Americans.

On balance, this may be bad for the industry. Insurance works by spreading risk. With everyone, including healthy people, in the system, average costs may be lower while revenue and profits rise.

Under a Clinton administration, the iShares Dow Jones US Insurance Index Fund ( IAK) may stage a comeback but continue to suffer with Obama. Large holdings in the index include American International Group ( AIG), Prudential Financial ( PRU), Aflac ( AFL) and Travelers ( TRV).

Clinton shook up her campaign leadership, adjusted her message and launched a big-state strategy to pass Obama on March 4. If she does get nominated, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund ( XLY) also may be worthy of consideration.

Although she says she's tough enough to take it, a Clinton nomination may inspire sidelined Republicans to dig deep and give huge sums of money.

Nearly one-third of the Consumer Discretionary fund is invested in media companies gobbling up the lion's share of the quarter of a billion dollars raised by political candidates for television commercials and other outreach activities. And, that is not including the unaffiliated 527 groups that are set to unleash their own "swift-boating" attack TV ads.

Large holdings include Walt Disney ( DIS), Time Warner ( TWX), Comcast ( CMCSA), News Corp. ( NWS) and Viacom ( VIA).

If Clinton can divert money that would have been spent in Iraq, to the domestic economy, the 39% of the Consumer Discretionary SPDR invested in retail stocks such as Home Depot ( HD), Target ( TGT)and Nike ( NKE) could benefit as well.

While Clinton may be more favorable to retail business, Obama claims his plan provides for higher levels of spending on roads, bridges and schools. His proposed National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank would expend $60 billion over 10 years.

To capture this renewal, consider the PowerShares Dynamic Building & Construction fund ( PKB). The allocation of this ETF is 30.6% engineering and construction, 20.1% building materials, 8.4% retail and 7.4% machinery. Big names include Trane ( TT), Home Depot, Mohawk Industries ( MHK) and Caterpillar ( CAT).
Kevin Baker is senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings.

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