TRUCKEE, Calif. - Now that the election is finally over, many investors are asking what may be good areas to consider for the next few years. The day after the election, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 300 points and has been trending down since, posting a decline of about 3 percent.One area that has done well has been gun stocks. Not the part of your gun that goes to your shoulder when aiming, but the share price of publicly traded companies that produce guns has been soaring. Some of them have been reporting record sales. The shares of gun maker Sturm Ruger, symbol RGR, have surged more than 14 percent in the week following the election.I enjoy recreational shooting, but buying shares of gun stocks following the election seems to be a little bit pessimistic to me. As the eternal optimist, or a guy who tends to see the glass as half full instead of half empty, I look for more optimistic opportunities. One area that should perform pretty well in the coming years is hospitals and stocks like Medtronic, Humana and HCA seem to be fairly well positioned. Health care should be a pretty good area for investment and so should energy. The US could become the world's number one oil producer by 2015 and a net exporter by 2030. Look for natural gas to play a larger role in our energy story in the future, too.Another thing I hope for as an eternal optimist is that as the fiscal cliff approaches, we'll see a true bi-partisan effort to address deficit spending and our long term debt. Hopefully we'll also see policy that will grow our GDP organically and reduce the unemployment rate.Investors should review a couple of areas as the fiscal cliff is being debated in Congress. We are likely to see some changes in tax law in the next couple of months. One area up for discussion is the capital gains rate; it is currently at 15 percent and will likely increase. If we fall off the fiscal cliff it could go as high as 25 percent. The last time the cap gains rate was increased in 1986, it triggered a selloff in highly appreciated stocks.The dividend tax rate is also likely to go up, right now it's set at 15 percent and that rate could go as high as 39.6 percent for investors in the top tax bracket. The estate and gift tax should change as well, making 2012 a good year to review and be prepared for change.Kenneth Roberts is a Truckee based Registered Investment Advisor. Information on his money management service can be found at www.fusiontargetretirement.com or by calling 775-657-8065. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial adviser before purchasing any security.
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