Another Indicator

September 18, 2020 |

Duncan Coker writes: 

If you are an ESG investor you may want to move on from this post

Casting aside market morality, if one is looking for a proxy for election and Covid volatility with some leverage kicked in, look to prison REITs. Most are still down around 30% ytd. The sector plunged in March with the rest of the market, but has just stayed there. As background, the previous administration wanted to end the use of private prisons, but this was reversed

in 2017.  Private prisons still make up a fraction of overall prisons and some operate in a hybrid way with public guards and employees.  A democratic win in Nov would most most likely curtail the use of private prison.  Also Covid has been a big issue and the main reason for the declines.  The sector is despised by lenders, pension funds and big banks, so a contrarian play.  If things improve however, yields are double digit and an ethical case can be made that private prisons do a more humane job than public for prison administration. If you are truly against mass incarceration, which I am, then vote to end the WOD, ( but that is a longer post). CXW and GEO are two of the larger REITs. Both have announced dividend cuts.  As always the big question is how much bad news is priced in.  A spike in either direction would be a harbinger for election results or progress on Covid, and not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Kim Zussman writes: 

A bolshie sweep would combine prison and build the wall funds.  Quickly finish walling off the country but repurpose the direction: in only.


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