Cuba: A Trump Play?

Focus: FUNDS

Vivian Lewis Image Vivian Lewis Editor and Publisher, Global Investing

Global expert Vivian Lewis offers a counter-initutative trade on Trump administration policies. Here, the editor of Global Investing looks at a closed-end funds with exposure to Cuba.

This "Trump pick" is a snub to the President's trade and diplomatic reversals of Obama's wins regarding Cuba. We are buying back Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund (CUBA), following in the footsteps of its founder, Tom Herzfeld, and his son Erik.

This is a narrowly-traded closed-end fund (CEF) which invests, officially, in equities of companies doing business in the Caribbean Basin.

Its holdings include several of our recommended stocks including Banco Latino-Americano de Comercio (BLX), a Panamanian multi-lateral trade finance bank; and Copa (CPA), a Panama-based regional airline.

It also holds positions in US firms working in the region, which currently account for over half its portfolio. The fund has a $40 million in market cap and pays a 2.07% dividend $0.13496 per share.

We owned this fund in the past and sold following the Obama visit to Cuba when the closed-end fund was trading at a ludicrous premium to its net asset value, usually a red flag for CEFs.

CUBA recently traded at a 12.9% discount to its NAV.  However, I think it is unlikely that Mr. Trump will reverse the diplomatic ties that Obama put in place.

Another reason for my enthusiasm is that the Mexican selloff triggered by the Trump triumph seems to have begun reversing, in part because the new President appears to be keen on a lower valuation for the dollar.

Further, as for Nafta, it does not appear Trump is so much in favor of exiting the trade deal as his is of  re-negotiating some of its provisions. A bullish call for Mexico was put out last week by Goldman Sachs, a key global financial forecaster.

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