Inside the Trade War, Stock Market Rotation and More
The trade dispute between China and the U.S escalated this week while the sector with the biggest gains in September may surprise you. Read on to get the details…
‘Economic Cold War’ with China? The bubbling trade dispute with China got new legs this week, as the United States formalized plans to levy tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and China immediately retaliated with new tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods.1 The U.S. announcement came on Monday, as President Trump declared a 10% tax on Chinese imports to take effect on September 24, with the possibility of the tax rising to 25% by year end. Once China announced its planned retaliation, it was only a matter of moments before the Trump administration shot back, promising an additional $267 in tariffs. Should those tariffs go into effect, there will be virtually no Chinese import spared from duties. Chinese imports totaled some $505 billion in 2017. Unsurprisingly, business groups from virtually all sectors largely oppose the measures, but they (and the Republican Party) have ultimately not been successful in talking President Trump out of the escalating trade fight.2
Eyeing the Stock Market Rotation – the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) have been flirting with all-time highs over the last week or two, but there’s been an interesting trend driving recent performance – and it’s not the technology sector. The biggest gainers for September so far have actually been in the telecommunication-services sectors and consumer staples, which tend to categorically fall under the ‘defensive’ and economic inelastic sectors. This observation may be just that, an observation that is transitory in nature. Leadership in the markets changes hands frequently. But another read could be that investors are feeling a bit more cautious as the market approaches all-time highs, and could be gearing up for a pullback later in the year. Time will tell.3
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U.S. Corporations Repatriating Overseas Cash Much Slower than Expected – one of the signature features of the tax cut was allowing corporations to bring cash being held abroad back home, to the tune of $4 trillion or more. The tax law imposed a one-time tax on the ‘trapped’ earnings, in spite of whether the money was brought back home or not. The law went even further to remove federal taxes on future repatriations and add future foreign profits largely tax free. While logical in theory, U.S. corporations have not actually been taking action as forecast. A recent study by the Wall St. Journal “reviewed securities filings from 108 publicly traded companies accounting for the vast majority of an estimated $2.7 trillion in profits parked abroad,” and found that only about $143 billion had been repatriated so far this year. Also, wildly far from the $4 trillion figure, the U.S. Commerce Department estimated that companies brought back $305.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018, which is not quite on the level that many anticipated. Even still, the $305.6 billion figure for a single quarter is higher than the total repatriated in all of 2016 and 2017, combined.5
An IRS Program Comes to an End – Once upon a time, an American citizen could walk into a Swiss Bank, deposit large sums of money without so much as a receipt, and feel secure that the IRS wouldn’t come knocking. Those days came to an end around 2008, when the Justice Department cracked down on Swiss banking and imposed huge fines on UBS. In an effort to gain some tax dollars and encourage Americans to bring that money back home, the IRS rolled out the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, which allowed Americans to avoid jail time if they confessed to hiding money offshore, instead of paying a sizable fine. Since 2009, about 56,000 Americans have used the program, paying some $11.1 billion to settle with the IRS. But the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is coming to an end on September 28, which the IRS says it’s closing due to declining demand.6
We can’t predict or control the outcomes of these news stories, but investors can stay focused on making sure their own actions help guide their investments to succeed. One way to do this is not to fall prey to common investing mistakes.
There are common mistakes and habits that can help some investors succeed while others fail. To help you understand some of these habits, we have created the guide, “5 Investment Do’s and Don’ts.”7
In this guide, we provide our thoughts on what we believe are 5 of the biggest financial mistakes investors should avoid, while also examining 5 financial habits that we think can help you invest successfully and with confidence. If you have $500,000 or more to invest and want to learn more, click on the link below:
2 The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-to-lay-out-line-on-china-trade-1537213209
3 The Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/safety-stocks-drive-autumn-market-rally-1537349400?mod=djem10point
4 ZIM may amend or rescind the “5 Investment Do’s and Don’ts” guide for any reason and at ZIM’s discretion.
5 The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-arent-all-rushing-to-repatriate-cash-1537106555?mod=djem10point
6 The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-irs-is-still-coming-for-you-offshore-tax-cheats-1536917401?mod=djem10point
7 ZIM may amend or rescind the “5 Investment Do’s and Don’ts” guide for any reason and at ZIM’s discretion.
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