Coming Austerity to Buffet Defense, Health Care Sectors: Analyst

Even with Congress on the verge of voting on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. is "heading toward a prolonged period of austerity" that could affect many sectors, most notably defense and health care, Chuck Gabriel, managing director at Capital Alpha Partners, told CNBC Monday.

Under the plan worked out late Sunday, there would be about $900 billion in spending cuts over the next decade. The next $1.5 trillion in savings must be found by a special congressional committee. Congress must act by Dec. 23, 2011, under the deal.

"The dollar doesn’t look as good. You take your shot on gold," Gabriel said. On defense and health-care companies, "there’s going to be a great deal of uncertainty up until you get past this second bite of the apple," or the congressional committee charged with finding more cuts.

"If they come up with recommendations, it could be marginally better for defense and health-care providers," he said. "If they don’t, you’re going to have particularly brutal across-the-board cuts, half of those coming out of defense. So that will be hanging over the defense group for months to come."

Health-care providers will also "be right in the middle of this, although one of the things not readily seen…is a 3 percent cap on the cuts to Medicare providers, which will be about $200 billion," Gabriel said.

There is some slight good news for the education companies because full funding for Pell grants will be preserved for at least the first couple of years after the bill is signed, Gabriel added. Pell grants provide federal financial aid for college students.

The housing market also faces uncertainty, he said, because if U.S. lawmakers suddenly get serious about tax reform "a lot of sacred cows could potentially be at risk," starting with deductions on mortgage interest.

WATCH:In a recent interview, Gabriel weighs in on whether Washington gridlock is good for stocks.


CNBC Data Pages:


Disclosure information was not available for Chuck Gabriel or his company.