Tax Reform 2018: Three of the Biggest Winners

When the Dow Jones Industrials exploded to an all-time high of 26,086, it did so just a week after hitting 25,000. That was the fastest 1,000-point rise we’ve ever seen.

"We're just starting to see Corporate America tell us what a lower corporate tax rate means to the bottom line. We shouldn't dismiss that," noted Art Hogan, chief market strategist a B. Riley FBR, as quoted by CNN Money.

Even better, Goldman Sachs believes the bull market could run another three years.

In its 2018 market outlook, Goldman forecast a 15% gain in the S&P 500 over that period with a target of 3,100 by the close of 2020. Earnings growth, they noted would be a dominant driver of those gains. It’s also projecting a 14% gain in earnings for 2018 led by strong sales growth, and margin expansion as a result of recent tax reform.

Without the tax cut, we may have only see earnings growth of 9%, noted Goldman Sachs.

As the economy continues to strengthen under the leadership of Donald Trump, and as tax reform puts more money in the pockets of Americans and corporations, here are some of the biggest winners and losers of tax reform to be aware of aside from corporations and Americans that will see lower tax rates.

Tax Beneficiary No. 1 -- Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY)

Given record low unemployment, high consumer confidence, disposable income and tax reform, consumers are spending again. We can see that reflected in the XLY ETF, for example, which seeks exposure to hotels, restaurants and leisure; textiles, apparel and luxury goods; household durables; automobiles; auto components; distributors; leisure products; and diversified consumer services.

“The economy has been booming,” said Mark A. Cohen, director of retail sales at Columbia Business School, as quoted by The Washington Post. “Unemployment is at the very lowest point in eight years — even though there remain folks who are unemployed who are not being counted, and there are still folks who are underemployed. The fact is there are employment rolls [that] are high, consumer confidence seems to be remarkably high, disposable income is therefore robust and consumers seem to be once again loading their credit cards.”

It’s why the XLY ETF exploded from $89 in September 2017 to as much as $105.60.

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Tax Beneficiary No. 2 – Retailers, like Best Buy (BBY)

An even-bigger boon to retailers will be the reduction in their corporate tax rate with many retailers paying some of the highest corporate tax rates in the United States, in some cases as high as 38 percent. And, according to NASDAQ, “Retailers could benefit on both the top- and bottom-line in the tax reform. Consumers could find more cash in their pocket after a doubling of the standard deduction, spurring consumer spending, and the lower corporate tax rate could drive higher earnings for this heavily-taxed sector.”

Tax Beneficiary No. 3 – Airline Stocks

One look at airline stocks and you can see that tax reform news has been a positive.

Between November 2017 and January 2018:

  • Southwest Airlines (LUV) ran from $53 to $66
  • American Airlines (AAL) ran from $45 to $59
  • Delta Air Lines (DAL) ran from $48 to $60
  • United Continental Holdings (UAL) ran from $58 to $78
  • JetBlue Airways (JBLU) ran from $19 to $23

There are two reasons for that.

One, airlines are likely to see higher revenue stream with consumers and companies likely to have more cash on hand after tax cuts take effect. And, two most of the airlines will start paying a much lower corporate tax rate of 21%. Plus, some airlines, such as Delta Air Lines will be able to reduce its tax burden further thanks to provisions that will allow it to immediately deduct the cost of purchased aircraft from its taxable income.

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