Analyst Warns That Bulls Are Bound to be Disappointed by Trump's Tax Plan

  • Cowen & Co. casts doubt on outlook for Trump’s tax plan
  • But investors continue to snap up stocks in reflation trade

Markets Question Trump's Mix of Growth, Inflation

A warning to investors sending stocks to record highs: President Donald Trump’s “phenomenal tax plan" probably won’t be so great.

That’s according to Chris Krueger, an analyst at Cowen & Co., who wrote Monday that bulls are bound to be disappointed after Trump’s hint last week that he was close to announcing a corporate tax overhaul helped send stocks to a three-day rally. Instead of a “bigly comprehensive tax policy paper," Krueger said what’s more likely is:

  • “A puff piece with a lot of adjectives;” or
  • A vague mention of tax reform during Trump’s address to congress Feb. 28; or
  • An executive order directing the Treasury Department to come up with a plan.

“You should not study his policy statements (or when his staff clarify/clean-up) with Talmudic concentration,” Krueger said in a note. “Trump’s White House is non-linear and non-consistent by design.”

Krueger’s warning was a sequel to one last week from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who said that the highly charged political atmosphere surrounding the Trump presidency made it unlikely they’ll be a quick agreement on tax reform, infrastructure spending or any of his other ideas to bolster growth. Other doubters include billionaire investor George Soros, who bet against the Trump rally, and Michael Cirami, a money manager at Eaton Vance Management, who says he’s growing cautious because of Trump’s protectionist threats.

Still, the so-called Trump trade shows few signs of slowing down, despite all the dire predictions. U.S. stocks rose, the dollar strengthened and bonds retreated Monday as investors continued to add to reflation trades that were reinvigorated last week with Trump’s tax comments.

The S&P 500 Index is up 8.7 percent since Trump’s surprise election win, while the dollar has gained 3.2 percent against a basket of peers. Oil has surged 18 percent, and the MSCI Emerging Markets index jumped 11 percent.

Markets’ outlook for the year largely depends on Trump following through with plans to cut taxes, ease regulations and increase fiscal spending. Whether you believe him, or the doubters, is key to figuring out whether the bullish case or bearish case has merit.

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