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While big bills have failed, Wall Street sees opportunity in Trump's massive deregulation movement

  • Trump has said he wants to gut as much as 75 percent of all government regulations throughout his time in office.
  • Morgan Stanley analysts estimated that Treasury Department's deregulation ideas alone could increase financial companies' earnings by more than 15 percent.
  • Telecom companies are likely to benefit, both in the removal of so-called net neutrality and the Department of Justice's "considerable influence" over merger policy.
President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again Rally at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, West Virginia, August 3, 2017.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again Rally at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, West Virginia, August 3, 2017.

President Donald Trump's and the GOP's formal legislative agenda may be stalled, but that is not stopping them from embarking on what may likely be the most massive deregulation effort the nation has ever seen.

Trump has said he wants to gut as much as 75 percent of all government regulations throughout his time in office.

While everyone keeps looking at the major legislative failures so far this year, Wall Street is concentrating on this deregulation sea change and making big bets on the winners. Morgan Stanley research has deemed the financial industry to be the biggest beneficiary of Republican deregulation attempts.

"With Congress facing a crowded calendar, calling into question the timing of and capacity for legislative execution on other policies that impact the market and economy (tax reform, infrastructure spending, etc.), we think it wise to examine the potential effects of actions within the president's authority," said a Morgan Stanley report out Thursday. "The Trump administration considers deregulation as a goal unto itself."

Along with outright deregulation, the firm says Trump has flexibility to reinterpret existing regulations without rolling them completely back, something that will help key industries which have a lot of rules.

Citing the Treasury Department's June plan to relax banking regulations, the team's analysts believe deregulation alone could increase financial companies' earnings by more than 15 percent.

"The recommendations from Treasury's recent report on bank regulations do not need congressional action," highlighted the Morgan Stanley report. "We expect that new agency heads nominated by the Trump administration will look to implement several suggestions from the Treasury report."

Financials had a rough first half of the year and are currently the fourth-worst performing sector in the S&P 500. But financials have recently made a comeback and are up 6 percent in the past three months.

Morgan Stanley added that telecommunications companies are likely to benefit from deregulation efforts, both in the removal of so-called net neutrality and the Department of Justice's "considerable influence" over merger policy.

But like financials, telecommunications stocks have not been performing well. The sector is now down nearly 10 percent this year.

For that very reason, strategist Tom Lee of Fundstrat recommends buying these "pariah" stocks, predicting that the Trump administration's business-forward thinking is good news for the sector.

"Clearly, the industry needs to consolidate, and it is increasingly evident (to investors, at least) that carriers face greater intermodal competition," wrote Lee in a June note. "With a more business friendly administration, the probability of beneficial consolidation is high."

But not everyone is bracing for good news.

Trump has criticized the pharmaceutical industry for skyrocketing drug prices and has encouraged plans to increase competition. Drug pricing has been a major issue for the president in recent weeks, as Republicans struggled to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Medication prices have fluctuated on rumors that Trump will issue an executive order on drug pricing.

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders in June told CNBC's "Power Lunch" some of the rumors surrounding the order.

"One thing that we hear is on the table for an executive order is the directive for the Trump administration to move towards value-based contracting for pharmaceutical purchasing," said Saunders. "I think that is a good, positive, constructive outcome for the industry and for patients."

The Morgan Stanley analysts agreed there could be trouble ahead for the drug industry, noting "potential impact to long-term industry growth potential, due to changes in drug pricing regulation and government reimbursement mechanisms."

"But some of the proposals may require legislative action," the report said.