A key component of Trump’s tax reform plan is to let companies bring overseas profits to the U.S. without paying the 35 percent U.S. corporate tax rate. Companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google-parent Alphabet have billions of dollars parked overseas and a lower tax rate could incentivize them to bring that money back to the U.S.
Tech is up nearly 30 percent since the election, and has also added $1.019 trillion in value to the S&P in the time period, the most out of any sector, S&P Dow Jones’ Silverblatt told CNBC in an email.
But tax reform hopes have fluctuated as the administration has faced several hurdles trying to move its agenda forward, including in-party fighting.
“People are in wait-and-see mode in terms of tax reform. We get a bit of a pop every time it gets mentioned, but I think the market is in a bit of disbelief,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private.
Still, the S&P 500 is up more than 16 percent since Nov. 8, with some market experts pointing to strong earnings growth, rather than Trump, as a key catalyst for the continuous rise.
S&P 500 since US election
“I think this has been more fundamental than anything,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. “It’s been mostly about earnings.”
Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout, said corporate earnings growth came in above historical trends in the first half of the year. Earnings for the S&P 500 grew by 15 percent in the first quarter and by more than 11 percent in the second quarter, Raich said.
Earnings growth was stuck in the mud for most of last year, falling for three straight quarters before growing more than 9 percent in the fourth quarter.
While this year’s phenomenal earnings growth may not be a direct result of Trump’s election, it has increased investors’ appeal for defense stocks.
The iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA) has risen 30 percent since the election and is up 20 percent in 2017 as Trump’s election has heightened geopolitical tensions.
On Sept. 3, North Korea conducted a successful hydrogen bomb test, about a month after Trump said the Asian country’s threats would be met with “fire and fury.”
All that said, renowned hedge fund manager Jim Chanos said giving Trump credit for the market’s rally is a “stretch.” Instead, he noted on CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report” on Tuesday that equities around the world are in a “synchronized bull market.”