Republicans are supposed to debut their new stimulus package today—after a long wait that neither side was happy about—but the details are still unclear. Some prominent party members hinted at details of the proposal on CNN yesterday. So far, it looks like enhanced unemployment benefits will be continued, but at a lower amount, an eviction moratorium would be extended, and direct $1,200 payments may continue for a subset of Americans. Republicans say they want to negotiate a stop-gap deal while a larger package is hashed out. House speaker Pelosi wants the full package negotiated now.
FINSUM: Given the length of time it may take to hash out a complete new deal, millions of Americans would probably be happy if a basic short-term package was agreed ASAP.
If Biden wins the presidency and Democrats take the House and Senate, tax hikes look inevitable. Biden is already publicly planning for them, and the way the polls are going, advisors would be wise to give the eventuality some thought. Even if Democrats don’t win the Senate, there may still be a tax overhaul. With that in mind, these are the stocks likely to be the hardest hit by a Democrat-led tax package. Based on Biden’s plan, it looks like a 10% rise in overall corporate taxes. Zion Research is leading the charge into the analysis, and here is an overview (quote from Barron’s): “Zion notes that 117 companies [in the] S&P 500 have over $100 million in net income that had cash tax rates less than 15%. Biden’s plan for a 15% minimum tax on book income would mean that group combined pays another $37 billion in taxes. According to Zion, nearly half of that would come from five companies: Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK.B), Intel (INTC), AT&T (T), Duke Energy (DUK) and Amazon.com (AMZN). Biden called out Amazon specifically during his speech, when he said, ‘The days of Amazon paying nothing in federal income tax will be over’”.
FINSUM: This is quite astute analysis as these are stocks that are benefiting in a very significant way from the current tax regime. Amazon seems to have a big risk here that is not properly understood by the market.
Many feel that the current version of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule might be in jeopardy if Biden wins the election. The thinking is that he would quickly undue the current proposed legislation and replace it with something similar to the Obama era Fiduciary Rule. However, that seems unlikely since many courts have now blocked that version of the rule, clearing saying it overstepped its bounds. That means that a return to the Obama era version is unlikely unless Democrats also win the House and Senate, in which case they could introduce new legislation.
FINSUM: Based on how the old version of the ruled fared in courts, we think it is highly unlikely it returns intact. That said, a much stronger version than the current proposal seems likely if Biden wins.
Bank of America’s head of global research, in conjunction with the head of their private bank, has just given a major midyear update to clients. The message: we are at the start of a bull market. While they think the recovery might be a little bumpy, in the longer term, they believe there is a great economy on the other side and long-term investors would do well to get into the market on down days in the immediate future.”
FINSUM: Inside these broader predictions was another interesting one- so if stocks are going to rise, which sectors gain the most? BOA’s answer was that despite being overbought, tech still seems likely to see the most gains because the pandemic has accelerated areas that benefit them the most, including automation, cloud-computing, and live streaming.
For a lot of people, BlackRock brings two things to mind: fixed income and ETFs. Therefore, the firm making a bold call about a handful of single name stocks comes as somewhat of a surprise. However, BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world and is also a leader in equities. The call they are making today is that big tech companies are looking strong and likely to keep seeing price expansion. On the one hand, this is a very easy call to make given tech stocks have been soaring, but on the other, it is somewhat of an interesting and risky call because many fear FAANGs can really only go down in the short-term. BlackRock says that the cash flow producing abilities of tech companies (a factor proven to be vital in this downturn) will be critical to their continued success.
FINSUM: There might be some short-term tailwinds, but in our view, big tech companies are going to keep moving higher because this crisis has created a huge opportunity to grab market share as more of life moves online.