These U.S. Stocks Are Set to Gain in Wake of Fidel Castro's Death

It is a gold rush for U.S. companies in Cuba, including those in the airline, consumer, cruise line, financial services and hotel sectors, following the death of Former President Fidel Castro on Friday.

The popular mood can be gauged by the fact that Cuban-Americans in Miami are partying hard. Cigars, music and rum have been flowing freely.

There is a growing sense that President Barack Obama's concessions to the Caribbean nation may not be reversed by President-elect Donald Trump, who has recently backed away from several election promises.

Without a formal Cuba policy and given that American companies such as Carnival, Marriott International and Southwest Airlines have already started expanding operations, the businessman in Trump may be loath to creating more controversy.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence may have used caustic words against Cuba in Florida, but this may have been just campaign rhetoric.

Hardliners in Cuba will find it increasingly difficult to maintain the Marxist vision that Castro had. This is why it looks unlikely that Castro's death will hurt American companies that do work in or with Cuba.

If anything, Cuba may have gained a fast track to capitalism. This watershed event opens up enormous growth opportunities for investors.

Airline companies are bullish on Cuba. After Cuba and the U.S. formally re-established diplomatic relations following decades of tension, carriers such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and United Continental moved to start non-stop flights to Havana.

Regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban-American families with their loved ones in Cuba. It also helps airlines tap education-related travel opportunities for American businesses.

Investors should also keep an eye on consumer companies. Coca-Cola and Walmart, for instance, could establish a huge presence in Cuba.

Meanwhile, though companies such as Carnival may not see an immediate pop, Castro's death may increase interest in taking a cruise. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean may benefit as well once Cuba's economy opens up further.

In the financial services sector, though U.S. banks still face regulatory hurdles to get into Cuba, smaller lenders such as Stonegate Bank are already upping the ante with Cuban offerings. As the Cuban economy grows and its ties to the U.S. get stronger, expect U.S. banks to take advantage of the fertile business opportunities.

Among hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has already signed a deal with Cuba for a multi-million-dollar investment to manage and market properties in Havana.

Trump hasn't outlined a set of policy objectives with Cuba, but this should change soon. Cuba is shaping up to be a lucrative trend.

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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.

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