Tariff Wars Could Present Opportunity for Semiconductor Investors

The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (NasdaqGM: SOXX) posted record outflows of $393 million for the week ending September 7 and more could come if U.S. President Donald Trump moves forward with additional tariffs on $267 billion of Chinese products, which would include computer parts like semiconductors. As such, this could present an opportunity for semiconductor investors in leveraged plays like the Direxion Daily Semicondct Bull 3X ETF (NYSEArca: SOXLand the Direxion Daily Semicondct Bear 3X ETF (NYSEArca: SOXS).

Based on data from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the list of possible targets from the U.S. trade representative on the goods, include tariffs on more than $15 billion in computer parts and another $8 billion in computers themselves.

“The $US200 billion we are talking about could take place very soon depending on what happens with them. To a certain extent its going to be up to China,” said President Trump. “And I hate to say this, but behind that is another $US267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want. That totally changes the equation.”

The tit-for-tat tariff wars between the U.S. and China could wreak havoc on the semiconductor industry. This could possibly present a bearish play for SOXS to capitalize on what could be impending weakness on the semiconductor industry should these tariffs move forward and effectively diminish any profits from the sales of semiconductors as well as harm GDP.

“The tariff discussion, particular between the U.S. and China trade disputes is really more an investor issue than an economic one,” said Omar Aguilar, Chief Investment Officer of Equities at Charles Schwab Investment Management. “A lot of the calculations around what can do that to the GDP is probably within the range of 25 to 30 basis points. However, when you think about what this can do for semiconductors, for example, it could actually take up to 25% of their earnings if these tariffs go into effect.”