What a difference a few months makes. When we last published an Investor’s Guide, in December, Donald Trump had just been elected and the Dow Jones industrial average had just passed 19,000. It hit 20,000 in January, and 21,000 a few weeks later, right before the bull market celebrated its eighth birthday in March. Today, the S&P 500 has already broken through the price targets many Wall Street firms had set for the end of this year. “The stock market went up. Interest rates went up. The dollar went up. Confidence, sentiment, all went up,” says Andy Goldberg, global head of client investment strategy for J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “There was this newfound optimism.”
Of course, politics created that optimism—and what politics creates, it can destroy. As spring turns into summer, investors are coping with the realization that President Trump’s first 100 days have come and gone, and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow known as tax cuts and regulatory reform seems as far away as it did before he took office, if not farther. Republican stumbles on Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation and the chaos surrounding the Russian-spying investigation have pushed economic policy to the margins and made bipartisan cooperation look ever less plausible. And the rally dubbed the Trump Bump has stalled.
That poses a dilemma for investors, because many U.S. stocks—which already traded at historically high valuations before the election—are now priced as though tax reform and other elements of the GOP agenda were already a done deal. TIAA Investments’ Susan Hirsch, for one, bought financial stocks immediately after Trump was elected, but she’s already sold a couple. “Some of the ‘hope trade’ has been priced in,” she says. (For three bank stocks that are still worth buying, click here.) In health care and other industries, congressional policymaking is such a question mark that investors are leery. The common thread among the pros Fortune spoke with: They’re looking for companies that are fully in charge of their own growth, that don’t live or die by what happens in Washington.
The good news is, the bottom lines of U.S. companies are set to grow more in 2017 than they have in years. Wall Street thinks S&P 500 earnings will increase 10% this year—and that’s without factoring in any tax reform. It helps that energy producers, whose plummeting profits recently dragged down overall growth, have slowly begun to recover. And if cuts do come, says Goldberg, earnings growth could be as high as double Wall Street’s consensus, topping 20%: “If [lawmakers] just lower the corporate tax rate a little bit, they’d be heroes to the market.”
The market is also making heroes of its own, especially in technology. The Trump Bump happened so fast that few investors noticed a fundamental change in the fabric of the market. Since the beginning of the year, the ranks of the five most valuable American companies have turned over dramatically, and now consist solely of technology companies that didn’t exist 50 years ago. Electric-car upstart Tesla (tsla) is now worth more than General Motors (gm). And the maker of Snapchat (snap), a company running huge losses, went public in what looked to be one of the most expensive tech IPOs of all time. Not that it worries stock-picking pros much. “Today’s valuations are like if you’re driving 70 miles per hour in a 65-mile-per-hour zone,” Goldberg says. “You’re a little bit over, but you’re not going to get in trouble for that.”
Click the links below to find 21 stocks and three funds that market-beating money managers still have high hopes for.
- Why Apple Is One of the 5 Best Dividend Stocks to Buy Now
- Why Google and Amazon Top the List of the 6 Best Tech Stocks to Buy
- How to Invest In Bonds Even if Interest Rates Rise
- The 5 Best Stocks and ETFs to Invest in China and India Now
- The 3 Best Oil Stocks to Buy Right Now—Even if Energy Prices Fall
- The 3 Best Bank Stocks to Buy Now—Whether Tax Reform Happens or Not
This article appears as part of the Midyear Investor's Guide package in the June 1, 2017 issue of Fortune.