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Analyst: Market is in a ‘win-win situation’ even if tax reform doesn’t pass

  • Albion Financial's Jason Ware sees market pessimism on tax reform in 2017, despite House Speaker Paul Ryan's promise to deliver it.
  • Even if tax reform fails to pass by the end of this year, Haverford Trust's Hank Smith says, the market is still set up for a win-win situation.

Despite House Speaker Paul Ryan promising on Tuesday to pass a tax reform plan by the end of this year, many investors have their doubts.

"I don't think the market expects [tax reform] to happen this year. I think it's extremely optimistic to think that it will," Albion Financial Chief Investment Officer Jason Ware told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Tuesday.

Ware believes the White House's priority and pace of handling probes, headlines and health-care reform has left the market pessimistic that tax reform will be passed in 2017.

"There's a lot of moving pieces, and as we've seen so far with this Congress and the new administration, they have had such a hard time focusing on putting out fires," Ware said.

"As much as Paul Ryan says they don't get distracted by that, the reality is they do," Ware said. "These bills come out of committee and need to get the attention of everyone else in Congress, and it's hard to do that when there's so many challenging news stories."

But even if tax reform fails to pass by the end of this year, Haverford Trust Chief Investment Officer Hank Smith says the market is still set up for a win-win situation.

"If we don't get any of these fiscal reforms that the Trump administration has promised, we're still in this 2 percent economy with very little risk of a recession, and the stock market has proven it can do okay," Smith said.

"If we do get [tax reform], the Trump trade is back on, and I think you'll see some of the sectors that did well in the last two months of 2016 pick up again: industrials, basic materials, financials," Smith said. "Really, it's a win-win either way for this market in our view."

But even though confidence in the market has been relatively bullish, Cuttone & Company Senior Vice President Keith Bliss believes investors should be aware of a few red flags that could shake up the market in the long-term.

"There are long-term warning signs that we really need to be cognizant of," Bliss said. "One of those is ... earnings. The earnings have been good in the first quarter, and the second quarter they are okay but they are absolutely diverging ... the earnings growth and dividend growth is absolutely diverging from the total return in the market. We've not seen that kind of diversion since the tech bubble back in the '90s.

"At some point, those two have to reconcile one another," Bliss said. "And it may not be for a couple of years ... but certainly it has to happen."