Thursday, December 22, 2016

Year end stock market boom may be tied to Trump planning to lower capital gains rate next year

Leading up to the Nov. 8 Presidential elections, most Wall Street analysts had forecasted dire consequences for the stock markets and economy should Donald Trump win the White House.  But within six hours of the media declaring him the winner, stocks surged in a historic move which one and a half months later, is now standing on the cusp of hitting Dow 20,000.

Yet what is most interesting in the way the markets have gone up nearly parabolic since the election is how little selling there has been, and this despite Janet Yellen raising interest rates and the cost of borrowing last week.  And one thought on this is that traders and investors are holding onto their gains from this rally until early next year because of the potential that Trump will get passed a new tax cut program in 2017 will have huge effects on their capital gains if and when they sell next year rather than taking profits before Dec. 31.

Image result for santa claus rally
Many investors are waiting to take any profits on the Donald Trump rally on the notion that if they wait to sell until January, they will benefit from a capital gains tax cut by the new president on their 2017 returns. 
It's a theory cited by Dan Clifton of Strategas Research Partners in a note to clients Tuesday. Many strategists, including those at Strategas, believe it's the one reason why this rally is showing no signs of slowing down into year end. 
Clifton has a great piece of advice for those waiting to sell in 2017: 
"In 2003, when Congress cut the capital gains tax, the provision was made retroactive to the first committee hearing in March. So be careful just selling on January 1st, depending on when Congress acts, the provision may not be in effect at the exact start of 2017." - CNBC
Many pension and hedge funds often spend a great deal of cash buying into stocks right at the end of the year, leading to the illusion of a 'Santa Claus' rally the media loves to tout.  However, this is mostly done to 'fill out' their books for their clients since they will have be more into stocks than cash when year end reports are sent out to their investors.

Last year the stock markets rose into the end of 2015, and this despite the Fed raising interest rates for the first time in nine years.  But once January 2 rolled around, the markets sold off for the next 17 trading days.

So if recent history is any indication, don't get too excited about this year's rally because there is a high probability that investors and traders are simply waiting until early in 2017 to take their profits on the hope that Donald Trump's expected tax cuts will come to fruition.

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