How Some Industries May Fare Under Obama An Obama presidency will mean different things to different U.S. industries. Based on campaign rhetoric and conventional wisdom, alternative energy companies and some health care firms could benefit. The petroleum industry could be in for a hard time.
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How Some Industries May Fare Under Obama

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How Some Industries May Fare Under Obama

How Some Industries May Fare Under Obama

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

An Obama administration may mean different things to different industries. Based on his campaign promises, alternative energy companies may be happy. Oil companies may be less so. NPR's Tamara Keith has more on the potential winners and losers.

TAMARA KEITH: Hope. It was a theme of Senator Obama's campaign for president. And now there are plenty of industries hoping an Obama presidency will help them succeed, even those that don't seem to be obvious winners. For instance, the nuclear power industry.

Mr. SCOTT PETERSON (Vice President, Nuclear Energy Institute): He noted that it's unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power as an option.

KEITH: Scott Peterson is a vice president at the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Mr. PETERSON: Although he was less enthusiastic in terms of expansion of nuclear energy than Senator McCain, there clearly was a recognition on both sides that nuclear energy must be part of our energy program going forward.

KEITH: And by less enthusiastic, he means Obama has expressed concerns about the safety of plants and about storing nuclear waste. Nuclear may not be at the top of his list, but President-elect Obama has indicated energy issues will be a priority for him. Tom Konrad, a financial analyst with AltEnergyStocks.com, points out that in his acceptance speech, Obama talked about harnessing new energy and creating jobs.

Dr. TOM KONRAD (Financial Analyst, AltEnergyStocks.com): That's clearly not good news for old energy. And the energy establishment is old energy. I mean, that's the way it is.

KEITH: But the petroleum industry apparently didn't get that memo. Dan Naatz is a lobbyist for the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Sure, he says an Obama administration will pose some challenges for the oil and natural gas drillers he represents. But he points out candidate Obama talked about energy independence and said he was open to offshore oil drilling.

Mr. DAN NAATZ (Lobbyist, Independent Petroleum Association of America): The country is now talking about offshore, having a conversation about offshore. Now certainly, we hope it was beyond idle campaign rhetoric that both Senator Obama and Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid talked about offshore.

KEITH: Observers say higher taxes on major oil companies could ultimately be in the offing. But there are also clear energy-sector winners. Senator Obama campaigned on plans to drastically cut emissions of global warming gases, promote plug-in hybrid vehicle technologies, and expand alternative energy such as solar and wind. Mark Bachman analyzes the solar industry for Pacific Crest Securities, and he says all these policies should help the companies he watches.

Mr. MARK BACHMAN (Analyst, Pacific Crest Securities): Will the stocks get a boost later on? Of course they will. They will get a boost later on as he starts to bring some of his plans in and the plans actually start to come to fruition.

KEITH: Another area of big ideas and possible sweeping changes is health care. In the short term, the new president and Congress could force drug companies to negotiate prescription drug prices with Medicare, cutting into profits. But Obama's broader plan to insure more Americans may not be all bad for the industry, says Les Funtleyder, a health care strategist for Miller Tabak.

Mr. LES FUNTLEYDER (Health Care Strategist, Miller Tabak & Co.): He hasn't appeared that strident in going after health care companies per se. You know, I think we should give him a chance. Now, the market has a tendency to overreact, so I don't think the market will take any chances.

KEITH: The business community is concerned that Obama will eventually raise taxes. But Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says right now his organization's top priority is the flagging economy and shaping a new economic stimulus package.

Mr. BRUCE JOSTEN (Executive Vice President for Government Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce): I think an Obama presidency will share the same interest and concern of our members and the rest of the American public, and that's get the engine of growth going, get innovation going again, get job creation growing in the flurry of post-election activity.

KEITH: A variety of industries, even those widely seen as potential losers, say when they look at the coming Obama presidency, they see opportunity. And that's the thing with a new administration. Cabinet positions haven't been filled and policy ideas haven't been committed to legislation. In most cases, disagreements come down to the fine details. And at this point, there just aren't very many of those. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Washington.

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