No Matter The U.S. Election Outcome, These 2 ETFs Will Benefit

Since early spring, broader equity markets in the US have been charging ahead. On Aug. 18, the S&P 500 index closed at 3,389.78, above its previous peak of 3,386.15 in February. So far in the year, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY), an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the index, is up over 5%.

Yet, many investors wonder if they should take off rose-colored glasses, especially given the upcoming US Presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Since markets are always forward-looking, between now and November, they will likely factor in election developments. With the uncertainty of an election, we can expect some degree of volatility, especially if there is a neck-and-neck battle in the run-up to the final day. Still, particular stocks stand to benefit from the election itself, no matter who is in the lead.

Below are 2 ETFs which could benefit as the presidential race heats up in the coming weeks:

1. Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund

  • Current Price: $60.27
  • 52-week range: $38.68-$60.94
  • Current Dividend Yield: 0.74%
  • Expense ratio: 0.13% per year, or $13 on a $10,000 investment

The Communication Services Select Sector Fund (NYSE:XLC) provides exposure to businesses from the media, retailing and software industries in the US.

XLC Weekly Chart

XLC Weekly Chart

XLC, which tracks the Communication Services Select Sector index, currently has 26 holdings. The top three are Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Alphabet Class C (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Class A (NASDAQ:GOOG). The shares of these two internet giants comprise around 45% of net assets, which stand around $10.5 billion.

We will not know who will win the White House until Nov. 3 at the earliest. Yet past elections have shown that media companies tend to be winners whichever party’s candidate finishes ahead. After all, they reap billions of dollars in advertising around this significant event.

If there is any delay in election results, communications and advertising businesses will benefit even more.

Facebook and Alphabet’s combined share of the US digital ad market duopoly is well over 50%. Therefore, those investors who believe social media and advertising will likely be dominant themes during the election season may want to research XLC further.

Other notable businesses in the ETF include Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Fox Corporation Class A (NASDAQ:FOXA), Fox Corporation Class B (NASDAQ:FOX), News Corp A (NASDAQ:NWSA), News Corp B (NASDAQ:NWS), ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS). These companies rank among the top media stocks that are embracing digital applications and online advertising.

Finally, shares in microblogging company Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) may also catch tailwinds in the coming months as a wide range of politicians, including President Trump, are regular users of the social media platform. It may be difficult to quantify the impact of tweets by politicians, especially by the executive office. However, we’d argue that controversial statements or groundbreaking announcements by well-known politicians would drive traffic to the platform.

Year-to-date (YTD), XLC is up over 12%. In fact, on Aug. 19, it hit an all-time high at $60.88. The fund is likely to offer better value if the price dips below $60 and especially toward the $55-level.

2. Global X Video Games & Esports ETF

  • Current Price: $26.59
  • 52-week range: $13.98-$26.81
  • Current Dividend Yield: 0.09%
  • Expense ratio: 0.50%, or $50 on an investment of $10,000

According to statistics by The American Presidency Project, voter turnout in the 2016 US Presidential election was 55.67%. If one considers data from past elections, too, it would be right to assume that over 40% of eligible American voters will not go to the polls in November and will even tune out the event altogether.

Therefore, the second ETF comes from the world of gaming and e-sports. Companies in the sector have greatly benefited from the pandemic lockdown, as more people have been playing video games. The trend may continue in the last months of 2020, too, especially if people continue to stay-at-home and work from home.

The Global X Video Games & Esports ETF (NASDAQ:HERO) invests in companies that develop or publish video games, facilitate the streaming and distribution of video gaming or e-sports content, own and operate within competitive e-sports leagues, or produce hardware used in video games and e-sports, including augmented and virtual reality.

HERO Weekly Stock

HERO Weekly Stock

Therefore HERO, which follows the Solactive Video Games & Esports Index, gives investors access to a broader range of companies. The fund’s top five holdings are Sea (NYSE:SE) NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), Nintendo (OTC:NTDOY), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA). The five firms comprise around 30% of HERO’s net assets, which stand at $220 million.

YTD, HERO is up over 60%. Like XLC, it also made an all-time high on Aug. 18. Any fall below the $25-level would make HERO rather an attractive long-term play.