Investing Takeaways From the Vice Presidential Debate

That’s it for our live coverage, folks! Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Pence have faced off for the first time, leading to plenty of insights from our editors and analysts. You can read our real-time analysis in its entirety below:

Latest Updates:


Closing Thoughts

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:48 pm]
Contributed by Thomas Yeung

Wednesday’s second debate primarily focused on Donald Trump’s record as President. VP Mike Pence looked almost pained at times defending the commander in chief, while Sen. Kamala Harris attempted to keep the punches rolling.

There were some interesting insights to gain:

Firstly, the Democratic coalition looks well-unified behind Joe Biden. However, its strength seems to come from a strong anti-Trump sentiment rather than a shared vision; Mr. Pence looked to sow divisions with mentions of the Green New Deal. That means a win by Biden could leave his economic plan in question.

Secondly, the Trump administration remains dependent on finding a vaccine before election day. Pence deflected attacks on the administration’s handling of the vaccine, saying, “we’re going to have a vaccine in record time.” That’s terrible news for vaccine companies and trust with the medical system.

Finally, taxes … Biden promises to repeal much of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) before its 2024 expiration. That would hurt small corporations and high earners.

As Vivian wrote earlier tonight: two things are certain. Deficits and taxes.


Can't We All Just Get Along?

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:47 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

A question from a local 8th grader spurs musing on bipartisanship from both candidates. Vice President Pence highlights the friendship between the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, politically opposed yet surprisingly close friends. Senator Kamala Harris highlighted Joe Biden’s history of working across the aisle during his political career.

This debate functioned more traditionally than last week’s, drawing a strong contrast between Pence and President Trump. Both candidates kept things civil for the most part, taking brief moments to compliment and commiserate with one another.

Last week’s debate was a Biden victory for many Americans. That being said, it’s hard to say either candidate won or lost tonight.

Though the Trump administration, and by extension, Vice President Pence, are ostensibly on the defensive due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the dire unemployment rate, the debate’s wide range of topics gave Pence plenty of time to hammer Harris and Biden on their personal track records, the Green New Deal, weak foreign policy and, but of course, deficits.

Last week’s debate didn’t do much in the way of instilling confidence in either Presidential candidate. After tonight, both tickets feel more grounded and predictable, which bodes well for turning out non-voters.


Don’t Discount the Long-Term Effects of Racial Justice

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:41 pm]
Contributed by Thomas Yeung

When asked about racial justice issues, both Mr. Pence and Ms. Harris remained light on policy. Mr. Pence blamed rioters, looters and media bias for racial justice issues, while Ms. Harris pointed at President Trump’s divisive record.

“The President of the United States – in front of 70 million Americans – refused to condemn White Supremacists,” Ms. Harris said. “It was not like he did not have a chance. He did not do it.”

This worries me greatly – there’s little common ground on either side to start making amends. And without a firm plan from either party, there’s a lingering risk of social unrest spiraling out of control.

Older viewers might think back to the “bad old days” of the Rodney King riots (or the “white flight” of the 1960’s). Gun stocks like Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWBI) are approaching their previous all-time highs. It’s not a good sign.

Studies by the OECD, a group of wealthy nations, finds negative long-term consequences for countries that fail to ease social unrest. In 2010, Greece faced both financial losses and higher taxes as riots spiraled out of control. We know how that story ended up.

Without a more precise plan forward, investors should watch out. What starts as occasional protests could turn into something far more severe if left unchecked.


That's a Wrap!

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:41 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Well, what a night.

The vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence looked a little different than what we saw last week. There were plexiglass barriers, a lot less shouting and a more concrete discussion around policy. This felt particularly important, especially as the world continues to digest news that President Donald Trump tested positive — and was hospitalized — for the novel coronavirus. If anything, it serves as a reminder of mortality, and the real role a vice president plays.

Investors are likely feeling optimistic that they got a clearer look at some policy items. Here is what I think you should be watching ahead of Election Day:

  • Harris reaffirmed that her ticket is not backing the Green New Deal, at least under that name. Investors should continue to pursue renewable energy plays, while being wary of energy stocks.
  • Cannabis stocks could shine under a Democratic White House, although Harris stopped short of promising full marijuana legalization.
  • Chinese equities appear risky under either Biden or Trump. Trade, national security and climate risks weigh on even the strongest of names.
  • Pence and Trump are really confident that a vaccine will be ready before Election Day. For investors to find maximum success, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration better back it.
  • Stocks behind antibody drugs like Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) and Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) should continue to be hot.

The future of the economy, especially as it pertains to the coronavirus, continues to be a big question. Topics discussed tonight include lockdowns, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and stimulus efforts. However, investors are likely struggling to digest which candidate would actually create more jobs. Republicans think Trump. Democrats think Biden. Is there any point trying to use persuasion here?

Looking to the future, the second presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 15. Whether or not it happens largely rests on the health of Trump. Stay tuned, and thanks for joining us tonight!


Election Integrity And Outcomes

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:33 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

At the risk of sounding biased, I would like to point out that questions about election integrity aren’t exactly hallmarks of a thriving democracy.

Senator Kamala Harris emphasizes the need for Americans to get out there and vote. Vice President Pence responds by criticizing Democrats for “trying to overturn the results of the last election” for the past 3 and a half years.

Notably, both candidates skirt the actual question: what if Biden wins and Trump refuses to step down? That’s par for the course, as the candidates have all but ignored the topics they don’t want to discuss.


4 Biometrics Stocks to Buy for Fraud-Free Elections

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:32 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Once again, the issue of a contested election comes into the spotlight. Would President Donald Trump accept news that he lost? What would happen in cities across the United States? And how will the rise in mail-in voting contribute to outcomes?

Instead of worrying about the whims of individual politicians, biometric stocks, and the field of biometric authentication, could present a much better solution. These biometrics — body measurements and calculations related to human characteristics — provide safer alternatives to passwords. They can also help safely access vulnerable information, and could serve as a unique way to prevent voter fraud, something Trump loves to warn about.

Although the field of biometric authentication may not be ready for the 2020 election, nations around the world, include America, are considering ways to include it in elections. As the industry grows, here are four biometrics stocks to consider:

  • Intellicheck (NASDAQ:IDN)
  • Bio-key (NASDAQ:BKYI)
  • Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA)
  • Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL)

Race Relations and Justice in America

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:27 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

After a summer of protests marked by occasional instances of serious property destruction and frequent occurrences of police brutality, it’s hard to imagine either candidate convincing viewers to change their minds about Black Lives Matter protests.

That being said, both candidates present their respective ticket’s stances on policing, criminal justice reform and white nationalism far more adeptly than their Presidential counterparts.

Highlights include Senator Harris emphasizing marijuana decriminalization and criminal record expungement for the same, while Vice President Pence highlighted the ways some small businesses across the country have been seriously harmed by protestor vandalism.

Notably, Pence takes Senator Harris to task for her prior record as a career prosecutor, a criticism of Harris frequently levied by leftwing activists associated with police abolition.


Kamala Harris: We'll Decriminalize Marijuana

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:26 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Cannabis stocks have had a rough time of it in 2020, but investors are still hopeful. Despite the roadblocks presented by the pandemic, slow moves toward international legalization and a struggling legal industry in Canada, the hope is that, in a Democratic United States, marijuana would be decriminalized or legalized. Such a federal move would throw the door wide open for cannabis stocks.

Sen. Kamala Harris stopped short of saying she and former Vice President would legalize marijuana, which is important to note, and goes against the interests of more progressive voters. However, she did say the duo would decriminalize it, as part of broader criminal justice reform efforts.

While this means the future is not incredibly clear for the legal cannabis industry, bulls should still have reason for optimism.

These are the seven best stocks to clutch on to now:

  • Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC)
  • Cronos (NASDAQ:CRON)
  • Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA)
  • GrowGeneration (NASDAQ:GRWG)
  • Cresco Labs (OTCMKTS:CRLBF)
  • Curaleaf Holdings (OTCMKTS:CURLF)
  • Trulieve Cannabis (OTCMKTS:TCNNF)

The Pandemic, Telemedicine and Abortion

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:21 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

When it comes to the nomination — and potential confirmation — of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, one of the key issues at stake is the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Barrett, other conservative Supreme Court justices, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are all anti-abortion. In short, this could mean that there would be enough support to overturn this federal decision, making abortion a state-by-state issue.

One thing investors should note is that, during the pandemic, we saw an intersection of the boom in telehealth stocks and abortion access. The New York Times reported that, as access to standard clinics “waned” due to coronavirus shutdowns and Trump-supported policies, more and more Americans turned to telehealth abortions.

This massive turning to telemedicine was true for all sorts of medical specialties. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed for this process — in which patients are mailed necessary medications to terminate a pregnancy — to continue despite broad Republican opposition.

Sen. Kamala Harris maintained that her and former Vice President Joe Biden, despite their own backgrounds in faith, will commit to pro-abortion policies. In that world, investors can imagine that niche applications of telehealth will continue to grow. With that in mind, make sure you keep telehealth stocks on your radar.


Roe v. Wade v. Pence v. Harris v. Barrett

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:12 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

A little over two weeks after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the question of Roe v. Wade potentially being overturned becomes a home state referendum for the candidates.

Vice President Trump emphasizes Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s qualifications for the Supreme Court, saying he hopes she gets a fair hearing from the Senate, “unlike Justice Kavanaugh.” He also emphasizes her Christian faith.

Senator Harris says with an election so close, it’s improper to push through a nominee confirmation, emphasizing her own faith, as well as Biden’s.

Harris emphasizes that she “will always fight for a woman’s right to make a decision about her own body.” Vice President Pence says Biden and Harris will attempt to pack the Supreme Court if they are elected.


Red-Hot Norilsk Nickel Stock Would Suffer Under Biden

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:07 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

In all the heated discussion over the military, it would be unfortunate for investors to miss a warning that could impact one hot stock: Norilsk Nickel (OTCMKTS:NILSY).

This is a stock that has attracted a decent amount of attention in recent weeks — it is a leading miner of precious metals such as nickel, palladium, copper and platinum. These metals are incredibly popular, especially as industries like the electric car sector continue to rely on them for battery and other vehicle components. But, the home country of Norilsk Nickel poses a big risk.

Yes, it is based in Russia. One of the impacts of foreign election interference, as well as concerns that the Russian government paid the Taliban to target U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, is that Democrats must take a harsh stance. Sen. Kamala Harris dove right in, promising to clean up U.S.-Russia relations — removing any threat of interference or nefarious influence.

These comments, as well as the environmental risks posed by Norilsk Nickel, mean that this is a hot stock you should avoid if Biden ends up in the White House. In fact, InvestorPlace contributor Josh Enomoto named NILSY stock one of the best stocks to buy for a Trump presidency.


What Does Biden’s Plan Mean for U.S. Energy?

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:05 pm]
Contributed by Thomas Yeung

When asked about the Green New Deal, Harris demurred. “Joe Biden will not ban fracking,” she said. “Joe is about saying we are going to invest in renewable energy … We will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Sarah — I know you mentioned about solar stocks. And that’s going to be a good play.

That’s because people can expect Biden to slow (or even stop) sales of federal lands for fracking. That would mark a 180-degree turn from the current administration’s policy, where millions of oil acreage get auctioned off, often at below-market prices.

From a macroeconomic sense, it could hurt the American consumer to an extent – U.S. natural gas prices have plummeted to below-market rates because we now have so much product coming from these new sources. Henry Hub prices are under $2 per million BTU – these are prices we’ve only ever seen during mid-spring. It’s a big reason why U.S. inflation has stayed so low.

But will they be a long-term good for the U.S. economy? It’s very possible. These new oil and natural gas sources will eventually become harder to extract, much like how the Appalachian coal industry collapsed as each ton of coal became more expensive to dig up.

I’d also focus on other renewables besides solar. No one’s talking about it today, but nuclear could eventually make a comeback once gas prices rise. That could make uranium miners like Cameco (NYSE:CCJ) clear winners, as much as people might dislike the thought.


Friends Both Foreign And Domestic

[Wednesday, October 7, 10:04 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

“Really, it’s relationships,” Senator Kamala Harris takes the Trump administration to task for their foreign policy isolationism and highlights the President’s cozy relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Vice President Pence responded by highlighting the murder of ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller in 2015, criticizing then-Vice President Joe Biden’s inaction at the time.

Senator Harris responds by highlighting President Trump calling dead veterans “suckers and losers” before the debate devolves into a redux of last week’s cacophony of politicians begging to be heard over one another.


Trade, Low ESG Scores Threaten Chinese Stocks in a Biden World

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:57 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

As Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence debate on U.S.-China relations, largely in the context of the trade war and the origins of the novel coronavirus, there is something else for investors to note. Chinese equities largely underperform when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

According to Sustainalytics, it is hard to find ESG-compliant companies that trade at reasonable valuations in China. Additionally, finding so-called value stocks among popular Chinese names can be hard enough. Leading names like Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) have performed well, but they are not exactly cheap. BABA currently trades at a forward price-earnings ratio of almost 30x.

What does this mean for investors?

Harris is less critical of China. Pence, on the other hand, used his time during the debate to reiterate that he and President Donald Trump think China is responsible for the spread of the coronavirus. On the surface level, it may seem that a Biden-Harris ticket would be a win for Chinese stocks.

It may not be that clear. As Harris and Biden emphasize an interest in clean energy — through electric vehicles, solar stocks and sustainable infrastructure — ESG investing is likely to grow. We are already seeing this socially responsible method grow amid the novel coronavirus, which has raised public awareness over the environment and personal responsibility.

Until we see ESG scores — and valuations — improve for these leading Chinese companies, be wary.


Hawks And Doves Argue Trade Wars, China

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:55 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

“China is to blame for the coronavirus,” said Vice President Pence. “And President Trump is not happy about it.”

A tête-à-tête between the candidates on trade policy, ranging from outsourced manufacturing jobs and USMCA segued neatly into a conversation on U.S.-China relations.

Senator Kamala Harris emphasizes the decline in the United States’ global standing, saying “the Trump administration’s perspective and approach to China has resulted in the loss of American lives, American Jobs and America’s standing.”


Is It Getting Hot in Here or Is the Earth Slowly Warming?

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:47 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

Last week’s debate didn’t touch on climate change or natural disaster response; Vice President Pence fields a question on the latter, saying there are “no more hurricanes than there were 100 years ago.”

Senator Harris emphasizes the administration’s climate change science denialism, calling climate change an “existential threat.”

Asked if he also considers climate change an existential threat, Pence says “The climate is changing; we’ll follow the science,” before reemphasizing that a Biden administration would raise taxes to fund green initiatives such as solar energy.


So What About the Green New Deal?

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:45 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Leading up to the vice presidential debate, David Kass, a clinical professor of finance at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, told InvestorPlace that he was most interested in hearing Sen. Kamala Harris weigh in on the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal — a congressional resolution that aims to reduce the effects of climate change — is largely supported by the most progressive voters and lawmakers. Within Congress, the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey lead the way. Youth voters, like those behind the Sunrise Movement, popularized the resolution.

Vice President Mike Pence has repeatedly claimed that Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden would support the Green New Deal. He said it would reduce the energy costs for average Americans. Importantly, and unsurprisingly, he also leaned into “socialist” depictions of the resolution.

But what does Harris actually support? She maintains that she and Biden do not support the Green New Deal. They are not going to ban fracking, and they are not going to ban fossil fuels. While disappointing to left-leaning voters, this creates a best-of-both-worlds scenario for investors.

Huh? In other words, you can find confidence in certain traditional oil and gas companies, like Devon Energy (NYSE:DVX), which has less total acreage on federal lands. You can also find profits supporting renewable energy plays, such as solar stocks. We have seen a massive surge of interest in solar stocks in recent weeks, and that could continue leading up to the election.

Consider these seven solar stocks to get started:

  • Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH)
  • Sunrun (NASDAQ:RUN)
  • SMA Solar Technology (OTCMKTS:SMTGF)
  • Sunnova Energy International (NYSE:NOVA)
  • Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ)
  • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR)
  • Beam Global (NASDAQ:BEEM)

Will Biden’s Taxes Hurt Job Growth?

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:45 pm]
Contributed by Thomas Yeung

Thanks for the mention, Sarah!

When asked whether Biden’s tax plan would hurt American job growth, Kamala Harris turned her talk toward repealing the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Donald Trump “passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1% and the biggest corporations of America, leading to a $2 trillion deficit for the American people that they have to pay for,” Harris responded. “On day one, Joe Biden will repeal that tax bill.”

As an IRS Enrolled Agent, I can tell you that Ms. Harris does have a point. While the TCJA benefited more than just the top-1% of earners, the bill did favor higher-income households and corporations, whose stock tend to be held by the wealthy.

Some of the biggest winners from the TCJA were business owners who generated $250,000-$400,000 in income, mainly thanks to the 20% Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction. (W-2 salaried workers saw lesser gains.)

And that’s the top 2% of American households.

Most of the TCJA’s tax cuts would have expired by 2024 anyway. Congressional rules limit how much deficit individual tax cuts can incur. But ending the program four years earlier will help moderate the U.S. deficit. Whether high earners will appreciate that remains to be seen.


Two Things Are Certain: Deficits And Taxes

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:40 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

Now we’re getting somewhere. Senator Kamala Harris emphasizes the disconnect between Main Street and Wall Street, saying that the economy has primarily recovered for the rich.

Vice President Pence emphasizes the administration’s tax cuts, saying they have “spared no expense,” while taking Joe Biden and Harris to task over the Green New Deal, saying they will raise taxes and ban fracking.

“Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. Joe Biden will not ban fracking,” says Harris.


7 Infrastructure Stocks to Buy for Biden Investments

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:34 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Wow. This no-nonsense debate is bringing a much clearer look at policy plans.

Sen. Kamala Harris outright said that former Vice President Joe Biden would repeal the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on his first day in office. What would he do with that money? Invest it in infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and solar energy.

I think you will hear more from Tom on the TCJA, but here are seven infrastructure stocks to keep on your radar:

  • Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC)
  • American Tower (NYSE:AMT)
  • Williams (NYSE:WMB)
  • Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP)
  • Enbridge (NYSE:ENB)
  • Fluor (NYSE:FLR)
  • Nucor (NYSE:NUE)

Right to Privacy

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:31 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

A question about presidential candidates’ health records gets redirected by Senator Harris to focus on President Trump’s tax returns. Vice President Pence toes the White House line, calling the released records “inaccurate.”

Both Harris and Pence have a knack for turning questions around; a question about whether candidates should publicly release health records becomes a referendum on whether you can trust what a candidate says against their record. Pence likewise redirected a question about the administration’s response to Covid-19 domestically to emphasize the virus’s origins in China.


3 Vaccine Stocks to Watch on Pence Promises

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:26 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Vice President Mike Pence is not playing around. In rebuttals to Sen. Kamala Harris, who raised concerns over the agenda of President Donald Trump when it comes to the novel coronavirus vaccine race, Pence committed to the idea of a faster-than-ever development timeline. What should investors think?

On one hand, many on Wall Street have come to understand that advancements in the world of biotech and pharma have made this fast-tracked vaccine possible. One contender, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO), claims to have found its vaccine candidate in just a few hours. On the other hand, these advancements are not enough to calm American fears. Many worry that a vaccine approved prior to Election Day would not be safe — and many voters say they would not receive such a vaccine.

That reality has led many vaccine makers, including those with leading candidates, to sign an open letter promising to uphold the scientific method. While an open letter is not equal to full transparency into the development and manufacturing process, it did help vaccine stocks.

Harris, a leading figure in terms of Democratic sentiment, said she would “be first in line” for a vaccine that had the backing of public health officials. Pence says that each of the Phase 3 vaccine candidates is, simply put, safe.

As Trump and Pence continue to share their support, keep these Phase 3 leaders on your radar:

  • AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN)
  • Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)
  • Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)

Pence Doubles Down on Rapid Testing and Operation Warp Speed

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:26 pm]
Contributed by Thomas Yeung

When Susan Page questioned the administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Vice President Mike Pence defended President Trump’s actions. While he pointed to March shutdowns as a necessary step, he also turned the conversation toward ramping up testing and Operation Warp Speed.

It’s been a recurring theme within the Trump administration. Stocks of coronavirus companies, from Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) to Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) have skyrocketed in value as the administration has poured money into R&D.

To me, it points to a somewhat dangerous reliance on healthcare companies. Abbot’s (NYSE:ABT) 15-minute rapid BinaxNOW Covid-19 test, for instance, has run into multiple production delays. And companies like Sorrento (NASDAQ:SRNE) have capitalized on investor greed over finding a quick coronavirus cure.

Pence also didn’t deny that the President is rushing vaccine development. When told by the moderator that “half of Americans now say they wouldn’t take the vaccine if it was released now,” Pence demurred.
“If the public health professionals … tell us that we should take it,” Pence responded, “I will be the first in line to take it absolutely.”


Candidates Continue To Clash Over COVID-19

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:25 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

Surprising no one, the candidates have starkly different perspectives on how the Trump Administration has handled the ongoing pandemic. And neither one wants to cede ground to the other.

Senator Kamala Harris is asked if she would take a vaccine advocated for by President Trump. She responds that she will take a vaccine supported by doctors, but “if Donald Trump says to take it,” she wouldn’t.

Vice President Pence ignores the second question from Moderator Page about the role of vice presidents to double-back and re-emphasize the accelerated vaccine process. He also criticized Joe Biden over the Obama administration’s handling of the swine flu pandemic in 2009, when Biden was Vice President under President Barack Obama.

 


Test Kit Stocks Look Hot on Biden-Harris Plan

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:16 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Republicans have sought to paint the Biden-Harris ticket as a threat to the American economy. If the Democratic duo take the White House, their critics say they would bring about a new wave of lockdowns. Sen. Kamala Harris danced around that question to start the debate, instead focusing on a national strategy for contact tracing, testing and vaccination.

While stay-at-home stocks will likely remain hot, this could also mean increased stimulus funding for contact tracing and testing. How should you play this? Consider testing leaders like:

  • Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO)
  • Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)
  • LabCorp (NYSE:LH)

'Literally tens of millions of doses of vaccines before the end of the year'

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:15 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

Rebutting Kamala Harris, Vice President Pence says Donald Trump has “put the health of the American people first” throughout the pandemic. Pence emphasized the promise of the administration’s Operation Warp Speed, saying there could be “literally tens of millions of doses of vaccines” ready before 2021. He also highlighted the administration’s aggressive foreign policy toward China, which some have characterized as misdirected, even xenophobic.


Procedure And Pandemics

[Wednesday, October 7, 9:11 pm]
Contributed by Vivian Medithi

The debate kicks off with moderator Susan Page of USA Today emphasizing the rules for tonight’s debate, a clear nod to the chaos and incoherence of last week’s matchup between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Senator Kamala Harris came out of the gate swinging, highlighting the numerous failures of the Trump Administration regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic: 210,000 Americans dead, 7 million domestic cases and the closure of 1 in 5 small businesses.


Young Voters Unite: DJ Cassidy Headlines Biden’s Pre-Debate Twitter

[Wednesday, October 7, 8:57 pm]
Contributed by Thomas Yeung

Biden’s Twitter account has just come alive with guests Mindy Kaling, Padma Lakshmi and DJ Cassidy with a clear message: Democrats want to mobilize younger voters.

As the Biden team prepares for tonight’s VP debate, I’m struck by the echoes of Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign. In that race, 66% of people under 30 voted for the Democratic challenger.

 

Fast forward to 2020. There’s been surprisingly little effort by the Biden campaign to reach the same audience in this election.

I see two critical reasons. Firstly, Joe Biden has needed to differentiate his campaign from the younger-leaning ones of Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders. These tended to have far more generous policies towards education, living wages, and general government redistribution. Secondly, he needs the continued support of centrist Democrats, such as Joe Manchin (Rep-D) from West Virginia.

One thing to watch for this debate is whether the Democratic party will try to shape Kamala Harris to cater towards a younger crowd (i.e., get the votes) without lurching Mr. Biden’s economic policies further left. If he can keep the coalition together through the election, the U.S. economy could stand to gain mightily.


20 Stocks to Buy as Biden's Electoral College Outlook Climbs

[Wednesday, October 7, 8:32 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Just before the debate — and with less than four weeks until Election Day — former Vice President Joe Biden has crossed a key threshold in one electoral college metric. According to a CNN outlook, Biden has now surpassed the 270-vote threshold needed to win.

This should not be entirely surprising. Biden has been widening his lead in polling, especially after President Donald Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus. However, the electoral college has been top of mind for many investors, especially as some lawmakers say it is key to November. Now, according to CNN, the combined total of states solidly in camp Biden and those leaning toward camp Biden puts him at 290 votes, well above the threshold.

Ahead of the debate, prep your portfolio with these top 20 stocks to buy for a Biden presidency.


Could Pre-Debate Stimulus Talks Sustain Airline Stocks?

[Wednesday, October 7, 8:13 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

In all the frenzy over a potential second round of $1,200 direct payments, many investors may have missed out on news regarding airline stocks. Leading names like United (NASDAQ:UAL), American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) were climbing higher to close out Wednesday, and are continuing their gains this evening.

Why? President Donald Trump also said he would accept a standalone bill to fund the airlines.

These companies were huge players in the first round of the stimulus measures, marked by the CARES Act. Now that those funds are drying up, each of the major carriers has threatened massive layoffs to make ends meet. Travel demand — and particularly business and international travel demand — has just not meaningfully rebounded. Even with continued improvements in passenger throughput, traffic is down significantly from pre-pandemic days.

When Trump first announced his novel coronavirus diagnosis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put out a call to the airlines. She asked them to halt furloughs, because she was confident a second stimulus bill was on the way. After back-and-forth updates, it appears that Trump is willing to consider a bill solely focused on additional airline funding.

Consider this one piece of the broader stimulus puzzle when Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris take the stage. The official stance of the Biden-Harris ticket is pro-airline. The duo calls for increased support for Federal Aviation Administration projects that would improve U.S. airports and boost safety measures on aircraft.

This could very well mean that airline stocks are another — somewhat — election-proof bet. They just need to survive the coronavirus!


3 Leading Defense Stocks to Watch Ahead of the Debate

[Wednesday, October 7, 7:50 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

What would we do without Twitter (NYSE:TWTR)? Tom, I think there is something else to add to your vice presidential debate watch list.

In yet another pre-debate move, President Donald Trump has a second big promise. According to the message, all soldiers in Afghanistan will be home before Christmas. That sounds like the perfect plot for a feel-good family flick.

Investors should keep a close eye on how the military — and broader defense spending — will come up in the debate. Trump was able to dodge the topic during the first presidential debate, but will Pence be so lucky? Tensions have been hot since reports of Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers. Making matters worse are allegations that Trump called fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers.”

As we reported earlier today, defense stocks may be one of the best election-proof sectors. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris are walking a moderate line on the military, likely disappointing more progressive voters. Trump, despite those allegations, has also broadly touted his support for the troops. This means that big federal spending on defense — a huge portion of the U.S. budget — should continue without disruption. If so, that means investors could find comfort in leading defense stocks to buy.

Will Pence follow up these comments with more concrete plans? Critics are already warning that the message is just yet another pre-Election Day ploy. If it comes up, what line will Harris walk? Harris has previously drawn a distinction in her military ideology. She supports increasing funding support for veterans, but disagrees with calls to increase the broader defense budget.

The actual logistics of defense and national security are not exactly a hot debate topic, but the pressure is on Harris and Pence to deliver a serious performance. This could mean they get more technical than in similar events.

Keep a close eye on these three stocks:

  • Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)
  • Boeing (NYSE:BA)
  • Leidos Holdings (NYSE:LDOS) 

3 Things to Watch for in Tonight's VP Debate

[Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 pm]
Contributed by Thomas Yeung

This year’s vice presidential debate promises to be a well-watched affair. With so few policy conclusions in the first Presidential debate between President Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden, all eyes will be on the VP picks to glean more information.

At Investorplace.com, we’ve been closely following the potential economic outcomes for the 2020 election. Tonight, here are three critical items to watch for during the debate:

Coronavirus Response

Expect Vice President Mike Pence to play defense tonight. As the coronavirus pandemic task force’s stated head, Mr. Pence will have to defend the administration’s record on the Covid-19 response.

It won’t be an easy task. With over 200,000 Americans dead from the disease and no end yet in sight, the Vice President will probably have to give details of a potential second coronavirus stimulus package.

Watch for hard figures. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have dug in with a $2.2 trillion stimulus proposal. Republicans, on the other hand, have offered a “skinny” stimulus package of $350 billion.

So far, Mr. Trump’s administration has flip-flopped on working with Democrats to push a far more massive stimulus bill, sending markets on a rollercoaster. Tonight is Mr. Pence’s chance to tell voters whether they can expect compromise before November 3rd. Without one, the economy could see a sudden reversal of fortunes.

Supreme Court Pick

With many Republican Senators under coronavirus quarantine, the sure-bet confirmation of Judge Amy Comey Barrett has suddenly been thrown into question. Tonight, viewers should pay close attention to whether the White House will double down on its attempt to get Ms. Barrett confirmed before election day.

From an economic standpoint, a confirmation of Ms. Barrett will present markets with a wild card. She’s only worked on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals since 2017. During her time, she tended to make uncontroversial calls.

“She has a prolific history of academic scholarship, some of which is related to issues like faith and state’s rights, but appears to have stayed out of any of the core areas of jurisprudence that tech cares about,” according to Corbin Barthold, the internet policy counsel with TechFreedom, a tech-focused think tank.

A rushed confirmation would mean getting a black-box justice on business cases, ranging from anti-trust to net neutrality regulations.

Bidenomics

Kamala Harris will have a chance to talk about Mr. Biden’s proposed economic plans.

The former Vice President has walked a fine line between acknowledging the Democratic party’s further-left wing while maintaining his centrist views. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s worked so far.

Tonight, Ms. Harris will have to walk the same tightrope. And expect pointed questions from Mr. Pence to try knocking her off-script, particularly about her record as California’s attorney general (AG).

As California’s AG, Ms. Harris was relatively friendly towards big tech – few major anti-trust cases have made it through the U.S. justice system. More aggressive Democrats have taken a harder-line stance for stricter regulation of tech companies, which could transform the investment landscape. (The top-5 tech giants make up a quarter of the S&P 500 index)

Ms. Harris has so far deflected such attacks by pointing to her record on data privacy and the broader Biden economic agenda.

In tonight’s one-on-one debate, expect to hear more clues about Mr. Biden’s economic plans if he wins the 2020 election.


Regeneron Stock Pops in After-Hours Trading

[Wednesday, October 7, 7:02 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Boy, does President Donald Trump need to do a press conference on behalf of a pharmaceutical company. Just hours before the vice presidential debate, Trump appeared, without a face mask, to give an update on his condition. According to the president, after a few days in the hospital and some experimental treatments, he is feeling better than ever.

Importantly for investors, he credits his Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) with his improvement. Over the weekend, while he was a patient at Walter Reed Medical Center, he received an unproven antibody treatment from Regeneron. This drug is progressing through late-stage clinical trials, but it has not yet received emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

That may be about to change. Trump said that the drug from Regeneron, as well as a rival treatment from Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), were due to receive EUAs. He also said he will work to make these treatments free and widely available in hospitals throughout the United States.

REGN and LLY stock are both rallying in after-hours trading thanks to the praise.

What does this mean for the debate? Will Vice President Mike Pence explicitly back these pharmaceutical leaders? And what will Sen. Kamala Harris say? Some Trump critics focused this weekend on the disparate care Trump received, when compared to the average American. This pre-debate press conference could fuel conversations on the Affordable Care Act, or other forms of universal healthcare policies.


How Can You Profit From Vaccines Ahead of Election Day?

[Wednesday, October 7, 6:36 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Astute investors need to listen up. How will Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris discuss the race to develop — and approve — a novel coronavirus vaccine tonight?

Last week, both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden shared support for Operation Warp Speed and generally, the need to offer struggling Americans a cure. But Trump has long been criticized for having an alternative agenda. He wants to offer early approval to a vaccine maker before Election Day. Talk about boosting your chance at the polls!

This position is even more in focus now that Trump himself has the coronavirus. The president received experimental treatments, including treatments that have not yet received emergency-use authorization, over the weekend. These included drugs from Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) and Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN), as well as the steroid dexamethasone. Will Pence use this to build up support for a Republican ticket? How will Harris balance appealing to voter desire for a treatment with Democratic rebukes of Trump?

Importantly, investors also have a lot to consider ahead of the debate thanks to the newest brawl between the White House and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA, in hopes of easing worries over a complicated agenda, announced the publication of new guidelines for vaccine makers. These guidelines laid out what data were necessary for an EUA, and pushed the timeline past Election Day. The White House shot back, blocking those guidelines from taking effect.

Voters want a cure, but they also want to be safe. Pence and Harris must navigate this tonight, representing their party stances on the future of Operation Warp Speed. If they seem bullish, we could see companies like Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), which just announced its intent to seek EUA for an antibody treatment, bounce.

Go more in depth with these seven biotech buys from InvestorPlace contributor Tezcan Gecgil.


Stimulus Funding Is in Focus Ahead of VP Debate

[Wednesday, October 7, 6:01 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Put simply, the novel coronavirus matters for voters more than ever before.

Republicans and Democrats have struggled to make sense of news that President Donald Trump tested positive. How do progressive rivals get in necessary blows without being seen as unfair or wishing a sick man ill will? And what would his illness — and his experience with hospitalization and unproven treatments — mean for the future of coronavirus relief?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initially thought she knew the answer to that question, calling on airlines to stop furloughs. She was determined to work with Republicans, hoping they would now see eye to eye. Trump halted that progress, saying he would not negotiate on stimulus measures until after Election Day. Just hours later, he reversed course, saying he would welcome standalone measures such as a second round of $1,200 payments.

Tonight, this stimulus will certainly be in focus. Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will hopefully deliver a no-nonsense and shouting-free look at each ticket’s policies. Will Pence soften the Republican stance on funding, aiming to appeal to worried voters? Will Harris make big promises of what former Vice President Joe Biden will deliver? At this point, a second round of stimulus measures is much about boosting consumer spending and helping Americans make ends meet during a long-lasting recession. Not much progress has come since enhanced unemployment benefits expired this summer.

Although it is unclear how exactly the debate will be structured, as the Commission on Presidential Debates has not released official themes, there is no doubt stimulus funding will come up. As Kalinda Ukanwa, an assistant professor of marketing as the USC Marshall School of Business, told InvestorPlace, updates on the coronavirus would go a long way.

“We live in a pandemic world which could potentially last for another year. For that reason, I am most interested in hearing how each candidate would tackle Covid public health risks while resuscitating the economy. What do Pence and Harris propose that would help Americans sustain themselves while we wait for a medical solution to Covid-19?”

Will Ukanwa — and so many others — see their wish come true?

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