With Congress finally making at least halting progress towards tax reform, JPMorgan is advising clients to start preparing for the investing implications.
The firm believes that an initial draft on tax reform will be delivered, as promised, by Sept. 25 even though substantial differences still exist within the “Big Six” legislators working on the plan.
That draft “will help dimension the extent of the reform,” Dubravko Lakos-Bujas, JPMorgan’s head of U.S. equity strategy said in a note. Following the draft, a budget resolution proposal is likely to be made public in mid-October.
“This will ultimately indicate the likelihood of a reform happening, how aggressive the proposed tax reform package will be and how it may be funded,” Lakos-Bujas said. “Regardless, the proposal will bear a high degree of execution risk as Congress attempts to build broad-based consensus.”
Broadly speaking, tax reform is expected to address corporate tax rates, expensing capital spending, interest expense deductibility, bringing cash stored overseas back home at a lowered rate, and setting up a territorial tax system in which only income made domestically is subject to taxes.
Progress on all these items was expected to have been made by now, and trading earlier this year saw companies surge that would have benefited by the reforms. However, since then those stocks have underperformed the broader market by about 7 percentage points, according to JPMorgan.
But with congressional leaders at work and promising results, that could change.
The firm believes that domestic companies will benefit over multinationals. Financials, consumer goods and retailers and telecom also stand to gain.
On the losing side would be health care and consumer staples “with significant overseas products.”
However, JPMorgan also said gains would be broad-based. A cut from the current corporate tax rate of 35 percent down to 25 percent would boost S&P 500 earnings by more than $10, which would equate to another 150 points on the index. At the current level, that would mean a gain of about 6 percent.
As for individual stocks, the firm divided winners and losers into two baskets, one to go long on and the other to short. Here’s a sample: