In the Stock Market, International Is Actually First

It’s also relevant that many of these companies, like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Pfizer, General Electric and Exxon Mobil, have stashed billions of dollars overseas. They stand to receive a windfall under proposed Trump administration tax policies that would allow them to repatriate that money at a very low rate, perhaps 10 percent, compared with the current statutory federal corporate tax rate of 35 percent. That potential bonanza, in itself, gives them a boost in the stock market.

By contrast, the America First category contains 161 S.&.P. 500 companies that make at least 90 percent of their sales within the United States. The group includes retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Target, railroads like CSX and Norfolk Southern, and regional natural gas and petroleum companies like Southwestern Energy, Range Resources and Pioneer Natural. All of their fortunes are determined mainly by events and policies within the United States.

While each stock has its own story, Mr. Hickey said he found a clear pattern in the overall data. From the presidential election on Nov. 8 through this past Tuesday, he said, shares in the International First group gained an average 13.56 percent, compared with only 8.15 percent for the America First shares, for a spread of 5.41 percentage points.

That’s a substantial gap for a roughly six-month period. And it would be even larger if Mr. Hickey had used asset-weighted and not equal-weighted performance numbers in his calculations, because the International First group is salted with gigantic companies like Apple, Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft. Their enormous market capitalizations — Apple’s is more than $800 billion — have an outsize impact on asset-weighted indexes like the S.&.P. 500.

Why have the internationally oriented companies outperformed the domestically focused ones? Several factors explain the discrepancy.

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