If there wasn’t enough turmoil on the global geopolitical stage, Australia is about to contribute to the uncertainty with three elections over the next seven months.
The first election will be for the state of Victoria next month followed by New South Wales on March 23 and the federal poll in May – unless the prime minister calls for an early election but that’s unlikely.
The scales are pointing to a Labor party victory in all three cases even though state elections are said to be disconnected from federal issues. That doesn’t feel to be the case this time and investors should prep themselves.
There’s quite a bit written about the ASX losers under Labor’s stewardship with the removal of negative gearing and changes to the capital gains tax discount likely to be a drag on housing exposed stocks. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share, Mirvac Group (ASX: MGR) share price and CSR Limited (ASX: CSR) share price underperforming the S&P/ASX 200 (Index:^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) index over the past year, for example.
A proposed cap on health insurance premiums under a Labor government also makes things more challenging for Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL) and NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF), but there will be winners too.
Labor is campaigning in Victoria on Labor values and is focusing on healthcare. You can expect a consistent theme through the other two election campaigns as well with prime minister-in-waiting Bill Shorten promising to increase funding to Medicare.
One stock that should be a direct beneficiary of Labor policy (assuming the party keeps its promises – not something we should take for granted when it comes to politicians from any party) is Primary Health Care Limited (ASX: PRY).
The election can’t come soon enough for shareholders as the stock is a dog with Primary Health Care’s share price plunging 34% in just six months.
The latest news to hit the stock is a screw-up in payroll with the group owning $18 million to employees at its medical centres due to a glitch going back to 2011.
JP Morgan had to cut its share price target on the stock by 10 cents to $3.20 a share but the broker is re-iterating its “overweight” call on the stock.
Another stock that will benefit from a Labor government is diagnostics group Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL).
The Liberal Coalition government’s freeze on rebates to this industry had caused problems for Sonic and friends and the reversal of this policy will bolster profit margins of the company and others in the sector.
Another company that would likely welcome a Labor government is hospital equipment supplier Paragon Care Ltd. (ASX: PGC).
Paragon Care’s share price is rallying 3.7% to 71 cents in after lunch trade after the company announced a new $27.5 million acquisition.
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Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares of Paragon Care Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended NIB Holdings Limited and Paragon Care Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.