Calcbench takes no formal view on the Trump Administration or politics in general. Corporate filers, however, often do have to say something about what’s happening in Washington and how it might affect their business.
So we decided to investigate: how often does the Trump Administration get cited in corporate filings, anyway?
That is a straightforward exercise on Calcbench, thanks to our Interactive Disclosure database. Typically, companies will cite uncertainty about presidential administrations or congressional legislation in the Risk Factors segment of their disclosures. So we fired up the database, set our search parameters to Risk Factors, and entered “Trump Administration” in the search box.
As one might expect, companies that mention the Administration are rising swiftly: from only two in the third quarter of 2016, to 18 in fourth-quarter 2016, to 67 in first-quarter 2017. Or, in chart form:
Pharmaceutical and healthcare businesses cite the Trump Administration often; no surprise there, given the uncertainty over healthcare reform in the United States right now. Others citing the Trump Administration include businesses with large overseas business (possible tariffs or protectionist trade policies), and Growlife Inc., a “cultivation services provider” eyeing the legalized marijuana industry. Attorney general Jeff Sessions is no fan of legalized marijuana, so Growlife investors may want to smoke ’em while you got ’em.
These disclosures also tend to be non-specific. Take this one, filed by Metlife on May 5:
The Trump Administration has discussed potentially putting in place a tax on goods and services imported into the United States, including from countries in which we have international operations, such as Mexico. President Trump has indicated an interest in renegotiating NAFTA, which had eliminated most trade tariffs between the United States, Canada and Mexico. While our current business in Mexico is not directly dependent upon any specific trade agreement provision, and is tied to the general economy and the growth of the market, if the current rules on government procurement under NAFTA were modified or eliminated, it could have a material impact on our business in Mexico, given our business model…
Accurate? Yes. Informative? We are open to hearing your opinions on that.
To remain nonpartisan, we also looked at companies mentioning “Obama Administration” in the year-earlier period. They went from 33 in third-quarter 2015, to 100 in fourth-quarter 2015, back to 21 in first-quarter 2016.
In the Obama analysis, we saw more energy companies disclosing something (hello Keystone Pipeline, EPA, and Clean Power Plan), along with healthcare companies—and, we could not help but notice, Growlife Inc. again.
That said, in this simple analysis one cannot draw useful comparisons between the Obama and Trump administrations in Risk Factor disclosures. The Trump Administration is new, with a less clear policy agenda. And each administration had policy goals that affected different groups of companies. That is, the Obama Administration had its eye on environmental reform, affecting one group in the energy sector; the Trump Administration is eyeing global trade, eyeing a different group,doing business overseas.
Remember, our goal here was just to show you, the Calcbench subscriber, how you can search the text disclosures companies make in their footnotes. If the Trump Administration is your goal, you might also want to search “President Trump” in the Risk Factors, or both “Trump Administration” and “President Trump” in Management Discussion & Analysis.
You can also search “environmental policy” or “healthcare reform” whatever else catches your fancy. You can search specific industry sectors that might be particularly concerned with political risk right now. Our Interactive Disclosures database is how you do it, and you can drill down to specific disclosures in a snap. Happy digging.
For the true obsessive, you may want to follow @TrumpTrackerBot on Twitter. It scans corporate filings for mention of President Trump, and excerpts them for short blasts on Twitter. It’s also the brainchild of the financial news website ValueWalk.com; kudos to them for creating it.
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