Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, has left the White House.
That is big news because Trump just called for hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Cohn, a former executive at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and big Wall Street advocate, was widely seen as the last man standing in the way of those tariffs being implemented. With Cohn gone, it looks like the tariffs are a done deal.
Naturally, Wall Street is now freaking out about a trade war. Other countries are already firing back at the U.S., warning that if Trump follows through on the tariffs, they will do the same to American-made goods. Most recently, the European Union has unveiled a plan to place penalties on American-made goods if Trump’s aluminum and steel tariffs are enacted.
Consequently, trade war fears are now front and center, and markets are falling as a result.
But not all stocks should be treated equally. Indeed, there are a bunch of big growth stocks out there that won’t at all be affected by a trade war. These “trade war” stocks should head higher regardless of what plays out in the geopolitical scene.
Here’s a list of my three favorite trade war stocks to buy that will ignore tariff fears and keep heading higher.
Trade War Stocks to Buy: Alphabet Inc (GOOG)
My first pick is the world’s digital search giant, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Google stock is a pure-play on secular growth in digital advertising, as the search giant controls more than 40% of the U.S. digital ad market. Google stock is also a play on automated driving (the company is making big moves with its self-driving unit, Waymo), smart home technology (Google Home and Chromecast are super popular products), over-the-top media consumption (YouTube has 1.5 billion users and YouTube TV popularity is ramping), and cloud data centers (Google Cloud is one of the biggest and fastest growing cloud businesses in the world).
None of those growth narratives are materially affected by a trade war.
Steel and aluminum tariffs coupled with some tariffs on American made goods don’t largely affect the digital advertising industry. Advertising companies continue to shift dollars away from traditional mediums and towards digital mediums. They will continue do so even if they are some hefty tariffs floating around.
Meanwhile, Google’s self-driving car unit might have some increased costs if tariffs become widespread, but those costs seem marginal compared to the opportunity Waymo is attacking. This is a company on the verge of creating a driver-less Uber, and the inherent value of that is significantly greater than boosted import costs.
The smart home business might be the most affected, but again, demand globally for Google’s array of smart home products won’t fade materially as a result of what will likely be short-lived tariffs. And the cloud business should continue growing at a rapid rate, regardless of tariffs.
All in all, tariffs don’t change the outlook for Google stock. This has been, and continues to be, a big growth stock trading at a reasonable valuation.
Trade War Stocks to Buy: Facebook Inc (FB)
Much like Google, my second pick on this list is a digital advertising juggernaut whose business will hardly be affected by tariffs.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock is also a pure-play on secular growth in digital advertising (Facebook controls 20% of the U.S. digital ad market, while Instagram controls another 5%). As mentioned before, growth prospects in the global digital advertising industry are hardly dented by the implementation of tariffs. Facebook is a global digital advertising and distribution platform with unparalleled reach (2 billion-plus monthly users).
Therefore, regardless of whether it’s an American or European company advertising on Facebook, someone is always advertising Facebook.
Moreover, Facebook stock has been unfairly punished recently amid a massive makeover of its News Feed. Facebook is trying to remove ads from its platform, which ostensibly implies less ad revenue. But in reality, because Facebook is so large with so many users and so little competition at scale, demand will remain robust for Facebook’s digital advertising real estate.
Consequently, even if there are less ads on Facebook, the price per each ad will skyrocket thanks to less supply and higher demand. The net result will be the same revenue levels with higher profitability.
All in all, tariffs don’t change the outlook on Facebook. Just like Google, this has been and continues to be a big growth stock trading at a reasonable valuation.
Trade War Stocks to Buy: Axon Enterprise Inc (AAXN)
If you haven’t heard of Axon Enterprise Inc (NASDAQ:AAXN), you might want to start paying attention now.
This company sells an array of digital solutions to law enforcement agencies across the globe. Their products include smart weapons (like Tasers), body cameras, in-car cameras and interview room cameras. They also include more digital solutions, like cloud data storage systems, mobile video apps and much more. Essentially, Axon is providing solutions to modernize and digitize every aspect of law enforcement agencies.
I’ve been pounding on the table about AAXN stock for a while. Law enforcement agencies across the globe are in desperate need of a technological makeover. That gives the stock a powerful long-term growth narrative. Moreover, with police brutality having recently become a political and media hot topic, Axon’s cameras are providing necessary transparency to the law enforcement world. This immediate catalyst gives the stock an accelerated near-term growth narrative.
Indeed, over the past year, AAXN stock has nearly doubled from $20 to $40.
But the reason this stock continues to be attractive even with trade war fears looming is that the company sells to government agencies. That essentially makes the company recession proof. It also makes the company relatively stable even in the face of huge tariffs. Regardless of what happens with tariffs, law enforcement agencies globally will find the money to modernize and digitize their institutions. That means demand for Axon products globally will remain robust.
Consequently, regardless of near-term trade war noise, AAXN stock should head higher.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long FB and GOOG.