In the days following then-nominee Donald Trump’s election a year ago today, investors placed their bets on the biggest winners under a Republican-led, protectionist leadership team.
Those investors decided energy companies would win under Trump’s promise to “save” the country’s coal industry. Steel makers soared on hopes of infrastructure spending. Meanwhile, financial giants like Goldman Sachs (GS) were expected to get a breather from the president-elect’s stance on deregulating Dodd-Frank. On the downside, investors worried that Silicon Valley would come in for a whipping once Trump enacted his anti-immigration and anti-trade policies.
So who got it right in the early days of president-elect Trump? Which were the best stocks to buy?
Well, as it turns out a year later, investors who bet big on semiconductor makers such as Nvidia (NVDA).
While the S&P 500 has gained 21% since Trump’s election, the S&P Semiconductor Select Industry Index, which tracks companies that make chips used in everything from cell phones and computers to gaming graphics cards and artificial intelligence technology, has gained over 41%. Notably, four of the nine companies in our chart (below) of best performing stocks since Trump’s election are in the semiconductor sector. They are Applied Materials (AMAT), LAM Research (LRCX), Micron Technology (MU), and Nvidia.
On the flip side, the worst stocks to buy since the Trump election are energy companies and retailers, as the “Trump bump” has not been able to stave off weak oil prices and or save physical stores from increased competition from e-commerce.
Athletics apparel maker Under Armour (UAA) leads the crowd of biggest stock market losers in Trump’s first year, having fallen 61% on issues largely independent of the White House’s influence. The trouble for Under Armour it seems is dying interest in “athleisure.”
Still, while the stock market’s biggest winners and losers have shifted since the election, and to an extent, decoupled from actions in the White House, that’s not to say early “Trump trades” were a bust. An index tracking the stock performance of financial companies, the S&P 500 Financials Index, has risen 32% since the elections.