The past 12 months in the U.S. has been particularly tumultuous, framed by the COVID-19 pandemic and marked by a number of episodes of civil unrest on the grounds of inequality and politics, and that turmoil is something investors should bank on for the longer term, according to at least one strategist.
Thomas Lee, founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, says that violent crimes in the U.S. have been on the rise and doesn’t envision that abating soon as the U.S. is locked in the throes of the worst pandemic in generations and a change of leadership in the Oval Office that has been less than smooth.
“And the events of the past week in Washington, in my view, are symptomatic of a greater challenge facing America. That Americans are taking action in their own hands outside of legal avenues, possibly because of the loss of faith in institutions,” Lee wrote, referring to the riot by supporters of President Trump at the Capitol, which resulted in at least five deaths. ”
House Democrats were set to begin efforts Monday to remove Trump from office ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration for his apparent role in inciting mob attack, which sought to halt the certification of Biden’s electoral victory.
Lee’s report argued that America, which saw weeks of protests and sporadic violence last summer in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, is becoming more violent—a fact that investors should be prepared for.
Lee argued that the rise in violence goes beyond civil unrest. Homicide in America was up by 37%, reversing some 30 years of progress.
“That is simply a staggering surge. In cities at the heart of the [Black Lives Matter] protests, the rise is even greater,” the Fundstrat analysts wrote.
“In fact, Richard Rosenfeld, lead author of ‘Pandemic, Social Unrest and Crime US Cities’ notes that 2020 homicide rate exceeds the rate of the late-1980s and 1990s,” Lee noted.
“This is simply astounding,” he wrote.
With that in mind, what is an investor to do if civil unrest and rising crime are trends that aren’t likely to abate in the near term.
Lee says because citizens will want to protect themselves, there are ways to play that theme from an investing standpoint.
Lee qualified that the stocks weren’t recommendations but were certainly worth watching.
On the home security front, Fundstrat suggested watching ADT Inc.
The Brinks Co.
Fortune Brands Home & Security
and Vivint Smart Home
In terms of personal protection, Axon Enterprise
and Image Sensing Systems
are mentioned, while drone stocks worth a gander include AeroVironment
and Plymouth Rock Technologies
On Monday, stocks were on the defensive, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average
the S&P 500 index
and the Nasdaq Composite Index
pulling back from record highs put in on Friday. Weakness was attributed in part to rising bond yields, as wella s worries that efforts to push Trump out of office could detract from a legislative agenda that might help to support the economy and the market in the midst of the pandemic.