'Trump Trade' winners switch into battered retail, biotech shares

Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:54pm EDT
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By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some of the actively managed funds that have performed the best since the Nov. 8 presidential election are switching from "Trump Trade" bets on financial and infrastructure stocks into beaten-down sectors such as retail, apparel or biotech.

The managers say those sectors now have a lot of upside while a rally fueled by expectations Donald Trump's administration will cut taxes and boost infrastructure spending has run its course because of growing doubts the new administration can deliver on those promises any time soon.

"We’re taking some money off the table,” said Scott Goginsky, a co-portfolio manager of the $24.8 million Biondo Focus Fund. The fund gained 25.6 percent between Election Day and the end of March, according to Morningstar data.

Goginsky's fund, which counts sportswear brand Under Armour Inc among its largest holdings, has been selling shares of large-cap financial companies and buying "brands and companies that still have pricing power when Amazon is taking over everything," he said.

Shares of Under Armour lost 54 percent over the last 12 months in part because of increased competition with Nike for shelf space at retailers.

Most of the portfolio managers that topped post-election performance charts moved into financials and infrastructure stocks before Nov. 8 and did so primarily because they looked cheap, not because they thought Trump would win. In fact, only few predicted the vote's outcome.

With the price-to-earnings ratio of the benchmark S&P 500 near the high end of its historical range, the broad market has baked in deep tax cuts that look less likely after Trump's attempt to pass a new healthcare bill shattered, fund managers say.

As a result, they are paring back their exposure to the stock market as a whole and in some cases raising their cash holdings.   Continued...

A trader looks at screens while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 27, 2017.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson