Money: Here’s How America’s Biggest Companies Are Spending Their Trump Tax Cuts (
May 17, 2018
By Alix Langone
May 17, 2018
We’re starting to learn what America’s biggest companies are doing with the huge windfalls from President Donald Trump’s tax cuts. And the answer is great for investors – but not so great for workers.
That’s because many companies are returning huge portions of their billions in tax savings to shareholders in the form of share buybacks and dividend increases — not necessarily new hiring and investment.
Companies are on track to plow a record $1 trillion into boosting dividends and buying back their own stock this year, says Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Buybacks are a strategy to boost stock prices – by reducing the number of shares outstanding, which artificially increases a company’s earning per share. But they do little to improve the economy.
Companies in the S&P 500 have also increased dividend payments to shareholders 182 times so far this year, giving investors greater incentive to buy and hold their shares, according to Silverblatt.
The Trump tax cuts, which slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, boosted corporate profits overnight for many big firms. Combined with the new provision that caused U.S. companies to repatriate billions in overseas earnings, many companies are awash in cash.
But, says Michael Patcher, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, “The tax law didn’t do anything to provide an incentive to employers to create jobs. There’s nothing in there that would suggest that employers have a particular incentive to hire more people or pay the ones that they have more money.”