President-elect Barack Obama has his work cut out for him as he enters office with the weight of financial trauma, tumbling stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) and a gaping deficit.

No question: there’s a lot to do. But some things are going to take priority over others.

Very few health care analysts expect the new president to act upon health care issues any time soon. The Democrats are expected to abandon the Bush administration’s positions on Medicare and other issues. This could give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies, reports Reed Abelson for The New York Times.

  • Vanguard Heath Care (VHT), down 25.9% year-to-date

Health Care ETF

Like health care, the energy area may see delays as other pressing financial woes need to be dealt with first. With Obama’s leadership, the energy industry faces a shift with the emphasis on conservation and renewable power. But bigger issues, such as global warming, could once again stew on the back burner.

High energy costs and concerns about global warming have heightened the sense of urgency for a broad policy that tackles both the nation’s oil use and its energy-related carbon emissions, though. Expansion of offshore drilling may have shifted in Obama’s eyes as a possibility instead of remaining adamantly opposed, reports Jad Mouawad for The New York Times.

  • Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE), down 39.5% year-to-date

Energy ETFs

Obama has endorsed the industry’s call for raising the number of H-1B temporary work visas, which are available now to only 65,000 skilled foreign engineers each year, all of which are claimed within minutes. The major challenge right now is public sentiment that foreigners are taking American’s jobs at a time when unemployment is rising rapidly, reports Matt Richtel for The New York Times.

Meanwhile, the tech industry will call upon the new president for things such as net neutrality, policies to spread high speed Internet access, and step up broadband penetration to higher standards. They hope he will be committed to his stated support of certain issues affecting their industry.

  • First Trust NASDAQ 100 Technology Sector (QTEC), down 43.8% year-to-date

Technology ETF

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.