Rather than focusing on any one policy item, it’s important for investors to have a plan in place that they can stick with in the long run.
With his first 100 days as president now officially in the books, we’re starting to see Joe Biden leave his mark on the U.S. political agenda.
On one hand, with a nod to the obstacles he faces in the Senate, Biden has turned to a record number of executive orders to influence directive. These include targeted measures on climate change and actions to control the pandemic. In addition, the Biden administration has leveraged its political backing into stimulus measures aimed at boosting the economy, creating jobs and helping Americans return to work. These include:
Of course, these increased spending measures lead to the inevitable question of how they will be funded. To this end, the Biden administration has proposed several tax increases. Notable items include:
Amidst ongoing political jockeying, we still don’t know what the final word will be. Tax increases seem fairly likely, though not guaranteed. The Democratic majority is razor-thin in the Senate and not exactly huge in the House of Representatives. As such, some of the proposed tax increases are likely to be watered down.
With this lingering tax uncertainty, it’s easy to see how a potential increase in corporate taxes–and subsequent reduction in the share of earnings available to shareholders–could be a negative development for the stock market. Yet, the complexities of financial markets make it difficult to draw such linear conclusions.
For context, we can look at the reaction of stocks to instances of tax increases in the past. As outlined below, U.S. equity markets have exhibited an ability to remain resilient through all but one of the 13 instances of tax increases since 1950.
Source: Macrobond, RBC GAM. Data as of Dec. 31, 2020. S&P 500 TR Index (USD). An investment cannot be made directly into an index. The graph does not reflect transaction costs, investment management fees or taxes. If such costs and fees were reflected, returns would be lower. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
We recognize that valuations in pockets of the U.S. equity market are demanding. Undoubtedly, strong profit growth will be required to support these prices. However, for those concerned that a potential increase in corporate taxes will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, history provides a compelling counter-argument. Rather than focusing on any one policy item, it’s important for investors to have a plan in place that they can stick with in the long run. Taxes et al.
An investment cannot be made directly into an index. The above does not reflect transaction costs, investment management fees or taxes. If such costs and fees were reflected, returns would be lower. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
This has been provided by RBC Global Asset Management Inc. (RBC GAM) and is for informational purposes only, as of the date noted only. It is not intended to provide legal, accounting, tax, investment, financial or other advice and such information should not be relied upon for providing such advice. RBC GAM takes reasonable steps to provide up-to-date, accurate and reliable information, and believes the information to be so when provided. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Interest rates, market conditions, tax rulings and other investment factors are subject to rapid change which may materially impact analysis that is included in this document. You should consult with your advisor before taking any action based upon the information contained in this document. Information obtained from third parties is believed to be reliable but RBC GAM and its affiliates assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions or for any loss or damage suffered. RBC GAM reserves the right at any time and without notice to change, amend or cease publication of the information.
This document may contain forward-looking statements about a fund or general economic factors which are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risk and uncertainties, so it is possible that predictions, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved. We caution you not to place undue reliance on these statements as a number of important factors could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement. All opinions in forward-looking statements are subject to change without notice and are provided in good faith but without legal responsibility.
Publication date: May 20, 2021
RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.
We want to talk about your financial future.
Investment and insurance products offered through RBC Wealth Management are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency, are not deposits or other obligations of, or guaranteed by, a bank or any bank affiliate, and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.