A new frontier for US trade tensions has now appeared. Mexico. On May 30 President Trump announced plans to implement tariffs on Mexican imports, starting June 10. In a statement the White House said that duties would rise to 25% if Mexico does not take action to “reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens” entering the US.
Following the announcement, Goldman Sachs conducted a screen of all stocks in the Russell 1000 to pinpoint those most sensitive to the new tax. “At least the first 5% tariff on imports from Mexico planned for June 10 will be implemented,” Ben Snider, Goldman Sachs’ equity strategist said. “The combination of proposed tariffs on China and Mexico imports would result in roughly 80% of some U.S. imported products being subjected to tariffs, including toys, cell phones, and other consumer electronics.”
“Escalation of the trade war poses a risk to both corporate profit margins and the health of the US consumer, who will likely absorb the majority of the tariffs via higher prices,” Snider continued.
Here are three stocks with the most exposure to the proposed Mexican tariffs, according to the firm:
Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)
This semiconductor stock has 39% of its reported assets in Mexico. And alongside significant Mexico exposure, the company has another problem on its hands. Skyworks supplies China’s Huawei with RF chips, which account for ~10% of est. FY19 sales.
That’s problematic because on March 15, the Trump administration announced its intention to ban the Chinese telecoms giant from acquiring US components and technology without government approval.
As a result Craig Hallum’s Anthony Stoss lowered his price target from $105 to $85 (27% upside potential). Meanwhile Needham’s Rajvindra Gill lowered estimates but reiterated his long-term bullish view on the stock: “Despite near-term pressure, we remain bullish on SWKS, which trades at a multi-year low (10.5x P/E), a ~15% discount to peak in '15 of 12.4x. Much of Huawei risk is priced into the shares, as we see it, which declined 11% in past week and 23% in past month.”
He continued: “We believe SWKS sales growth will resume in 2020 due to higher mix of broad markets, which include 5G infrastructure and IoT.” The analyst has a $95 price target on shares (42% upside potential).
Kansas City Southern (KSU)
With 38% of its assets in Mexico, this railroad company is bound to feel the pain once the tariffs are implemented. As well as an operating arm in Mexico, Kansas City Southern also serves 90% of auto assembly plants in Mexico and has four automotive distribution facilities and access to three major Mexico ports on the Pacific and Gulf Coasts.
Indeed, shares have plunged 7% over the last five days. And we can see here how news sentiment for the stock currently registers as Strong Negative:
The company has already released a statement concerning the tariffs, writing that it "is aware of the President's tweet yesterday but is not able to estimate what impact such action might have on the flow of its cross-border freight. KSU's cross-border traffic represents approximately 40% of our total traffic. Sixty percent of our cross-border traffic originates north of the border and is exported from the U.S. to Mexico, including grain exports originating in the Midwest states forming the US Corn Belt.”
"KSU hopes that such action will not be necessary and that efforts of the U.S. and Mexican governments to stem the flow of immigrants through Mexico to the U.S. border are not tied to the vital commerce that exists between the two countries and Canada.”
Meanwhile the American Association of Railroads (AAR) said its focus is on Congress ratifying the USMCA trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. "Any action that impedes [USMCA's] passage is concerning, such as tariffs that create barriers to commerce. We are watching what our customers say and do, particularly the auto and agricultural industries that move a lot of goods to and from Mexico," AAR said.
Sensata Technologies (ST)
Sensata Technologies, a company which focuses on electrical components, has 26% of its assets in Mexico. Shares have only marginally pulled back over the last week- but the stock is still down a worrying 15% over the last three months. Interestingly however, JP Morgan downgraded Sensata last month.
The firm explained that a further upside re-rate is unlikely in an environment of moderating auto production in 2019. “We are moving to the sidelines with a Neutral rating to wait for improvement in industry fundamentals” concluded JP Morgan’s Samik Chatterjee while taking the price target from $60 to $57.