At first glance and without any context, you wouldn’t think that the $782 million loss that Energy Transfer (NYSE:ET) suffered in the third quarter was a positive development. Energy Transfer stock has ore wrong with it than the pandemic.
Of course, it would be incredibly harsh to judge any energy-related company on its fiscal performance this year. Though the novel coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected every investment sector – with some rare exceptions, like telehealth – the crisis has been especially brutal for Energy Transfer stock and its ilk.
With this context included, there was fortunately some bright spots in the Q3 report. As the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out:
The Dallas-based company said it had a loss of 29 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for asset impairment costs, were 30 cents per share.
The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 23 cents per share.
Heading into the disclosure, Energy Transfer stock closed the session down 3%. But in the afterhours session, ET made a robust bounce back, gaining over 6%. Clearly, covering analysts were pleasantly surprised with the energy firm’s contextually solid performance.
Further, despite sharply rising new coronavirus infections, we have evidence that people have learned to manage the crisis.
By now, we’ve acclimated to the new normal, which involves social distancing and mask-wearing in public places where keeping safe distances is not practical.
Plus, travel demand has improved significantly from this year’s sentiment lows, suggesting that Americans are ready to move forward.
If that wasn’t enough evidence, President Trump garnered tremendous support for his pro-economy, anti-lockdown policies. Yet again, the polls were wrong, which in turn bodes well for Energy Transfer stock. After all, people sheltering in place isn’t exactly helpful for energy demand.
Still, you might want to avoid jumping in at this moment.
A Biden Win Doesn’t Help Energy Transfer Stock
Heading into election day, everyone knew that it was going to be a contentious event.
Though Trump’s base gained a well-earned reputation for enthusiasm and loyalty, millions of Americans were frustrated with the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sure, Trump has consistently deflected blame onto China. And I’m no fan of the communist regime over there. However, there’s a saying (an American one) that the buck stops here. It’s a principle that’s stuck in our psyche.
Frankly, responsible parents teach their children not to blame others for their own shortcomings. So, it was jarring when the President kept whining instead of grinding to help the American people.
But Trump supporters came out in full force, surprising the Democrats (which is another story in itself). In addition, the blue wave didn’t show up, with Democrats failing to make the ground they promised in the Senate race. Overall, it was incredibly disappointing for the left.
Still, former Vice President Joe Biden has the higher probability of winning the election from where I stand. If after all the drama he does become president, this in theory wouldn’t be helpful to Energy Transfer stock. However, I think this is an overhyped argument.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not clamoring to buy Energy Transfer stock right now. But the idea that a Democratic administration will do away with fossil fuels and implement clean energy infrastructure is nonsense.
Yes, clean energy will come but probably not as a disruptive competitor, aAs I pointed out in my article for NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE):
“With time and technology, renewable energy sources could start eating into fossil fuels. But it will probably not be in time to meet Biden’s deadline [of net zero emissions by 2050] given the snail’s pace of the clean, green industry.”
If you’re worried about politics impacting Energy Transfer stock, it’s not the presidential race you should be concerned about but the Senate.
Four Years of Lame “Duckery”
As you know, if Biden becomes President-elect, Trump will become a lame duck president. He’ll be in power but with his successor already chosen, he doesn’t really have much incentive to do anything.
However, once Biden gets in (under this theoretical scenario – the vote counting is presently contested), he may have four years of being a lame duck.
That’s because it’s looking likely that the Republicans will hold the Senate. In this case, the right maintains significant influence and power. And they will have zero incentive to go along with any of Biden’s policies that have a hint of liberalism associated with it.
Remember, the Republicans were supposedly very unpopular. Yet they put on an outstanding performance, which means pushing liberal agendas will result in quick one-off terms for Biden and perhaps many other Democrats.
This also means that critical measures such as stimulus checks are off the table. Frankly, that may have been the lifeline that kept many American households from going over the edge sooner.
Essentially, due to hardline politics, the economy/markets could correct severely, with Democrats possibly on the hook for it.
Regardless of the politics, having a rough economy does no favors for energy demand. As a result, I’m staying away from Energy Transfer stock until at least we can get some clarity as to where the country is headed.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.