Hillary Clinton had an edge over Donald Trump during the first presidential debate which took place at Hofstra University on Monday. This was indicated by early focus groups and polls which underscore the manner in which Clinton put across her views on a wide variety of subjects. The two candidates discussed several issues, including defense and the economy before the debate took on a more personal tone.
Hillary Had Upper Hand in Round One
At one point during the debate, Clinton quipped that her opponent was criticizing her for coming well prepared and she had. She went on to claim that she was also better suited for the Presidential office. Media watchers and experts think that at most times, she did, as the candidates squared off on a wide range of issues.
For instance, Clinton showed a better degree of preparedness on matters of public policy, defense and tax reform. She also put Trump on the wrong foot about his record on several sensitive issues including his track record in business.
Admittedly, however, Trump did put Clinton on the defensive when he questioned her vacillating stand on trade policy. He chose to focus on how she was opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership after supporting it during the initial phase of negotiations. However, Clinton acquitted herself more gracefully when she chose to admit that she was at fault when the familiar private e-mail bogey was raised.
Clinton Backs Solar Power
Amidst all the barbs and insinuations, some concrete proposals related to industry were also heard. Nearly all of them came from Clinton, who chose to focus on several familiar areas. Emphasizing the importance of clean and renewable power, she said that this would also help job creation especially in small businesses.
Questioning Trump’s stance on climate change, she said that it was important to come to terms with an impending crisis. The best way to combat the situation, she said, was renewable power. Clinton said “half a billion” solar panels could be set up as well as a new electric transmission grid.
Cyber Security and Defense
When asked by the moderator about her stance on cyber security, Clinton said that she believes that this would be a major challenge for the next President. This was because cyber-attacks were now coming from independent groups as well as other countries. In the case of countries, the threat was no longer commercial but more serious in nature. Questioning Russia’s record on this count, she expressed concern about Trump’s recent praise of Vladimir Putin.
Trump confronted Clinton several times about her failure to eliminate ISIS. On her part, Clinton said that she had provided proposals of a plan to tackle this threat and said she estimated that air strikes would have to be stepped up. This would enable U.S. allies in the Middle East to finally defeat ISIS. Clinton has already said that she will also confront China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea and this only serves to underline her aggressive stance on defense.
Stocks to Watch
Clinton seems to have won the first honors and at present has a better chance of ultimately getting to the White House. Given her strong stance on several issues, some sectors are likely to do a little better if she comes to office.
Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT - Analyst Report) is likely to benefit from Clinton’s stance on defense and her promise to escalate air strikes. For instance, the company’s F-35 stealth fighter could enjoy higher sales. Already, the company has a steady flow of contracts from the Pentagon. (Read: If Hillary Clinton Becomes President, Defense Stocks Could Win Big)
Lockheed Martin has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The company has expected earnings growth of 8.4% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 0.5% over the last 30 days.
First Solar, Inc. (FSLR - Analyst Report) is a leading provider of PV energy solutions, with the majority situated across North America. The company is likely to gain from Clinton’s energy proposals and her strong solar push.
First Solar is slightly expensive and has a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio for the current financial year (F1) is 8.67, higher than the industry average of 5.19. The stock has a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Proofpoint, Inc. (PFPT - Snapshot Report) will gain from the renewed focus on cybersecurity following the recent data breach at The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This was also the focus of the candidate’s debate when they discussed cybersecurity issues. (Read: Cyber Security Stocks in Focus Following WADA Data Breach)
Proofpoint has a Zacks Rank #3. The company has expected earnings growth of 8.4% for the current year. The stock has gained more than 17% year to date.
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