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4 ETFs For The Presidential Cycle (MOO, QQQ, KOL)

March 1, 2012 3:15 pm
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4 ETFs For The Presidential Cycle (MOO, QQQ, KOL)

Cycles can be virtuous. Politics, not so much, but there is no getting around the power of the presidential cycle when it comes to investing. At its core, the presidential cycle tells us that the stocks perform better in years three and four of a presidential because the party in power is looking to keep that power by juicing the economy.

Let’s be honest. Government largess in the essence of getting reelected is really no more than an indirect bribe aimed at voters, but that’s kind of how the two party cookie crumbles in the U.S.

Another, more important reality is that the S&P 500’s returns in years three and four of the presidential cycle since 1970 are more than double the returns found in years one and two. So scoffing at the presidential cycle is foolhardy to say the least.

Here’s to hoping this year’s election is close and that President Obama is pressed into stimulating the economy to keep his job. The following ETFs may just benefit under that scenario.

Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSE: KOL)
KOL has a lot of possibilities this election year but the ETF’s start to 2012 has been a disappointment. KOL, normally known for its high beta reputation, has lagged the S&P 500 year-to-date. Electric utilities are turning to cheaper, cleaner natural gas and that’s hurting KOL and its constituents.

Still, it’s not a stretch to envision KOL at least getting a rhetoric bounce. After all, look at the major coal producing states in the eastern part of the U.S. Almost all of them are pivotal swing states. Bet on at least one candidate saying something to warm the ears of coal miners and their employers.

SPDR FTSE/Macquarie Global Infrastructure 100 ETF (NYSE: GII)
Remember all that talk in the early part of the Obama Administration about “shovel ready” jobs? It’s debatable whether or not that ever materialized, but should the President need to boost the economy to get reelected, he could take a page from China’s book and go the infrastructure route. Many of the infrastructure ETFs on the market today are more focused on emerging markets, but the SPDR FTSE/Macquarie Global Infrastructure 100 ETF is more than 47% allocated to the U.S. and the ETF just made a golden cross.

Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSE: MOO)
Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook how important farming is to the U.S. economy. Hey, it’s called the “non-farm” payroll number, right? Well agribusiness is big business and farmers are a powerful voting block. Throw Illinois and Minnesota to Obama and Kansas and Nebraska to his challenger and we’re still left with several Midwest swing states that full of farmers and ag-related businesses.

MOO is already off to a good start this year, but further efforts to buy votes, er, stimulate the economy in the Midwest could easily benefit this ETF.

PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQ)
Any tech ETF heavy on the usual suspects could go here, but we’ll opt for QQQ. We’ll explain with some free campaign advice to anyone smart enough to listen: How about throwing a bone to cash-rich tech titans like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and friends by lowering the tax rate on the tens of billions of dollars they keep offshore? Cut a deal with these companies that allows them to repatriate that money to the U.S. at a favorable tax rate if a certain percentage of those funds are used to create U.S. jobs and/or pay and increase dividends.

It’s almost too much common sense for anyone in Washington, D.C. to execute, but we can hope, right?

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