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Trump-Cohn plan for tax break on overseas profits could boost these 10 stocks

  • Chief economic advisor Gary Cohn says a one-time low repatriation tax rate for foreign corporate earnings will be a component of the tax reform plan.
  • Goldman analyst Heather Bellini has said "repatriated funds could provide companies with firepower for accelerated buybacks, dividend raises, organic investment and potential M&A."
  • U.S. companies are holding $2.6 trillion of profits overseas, according to Capital Economics.

Trillions of dollars in U.S. corporate profits held abroad are more likely to finally come home with the latest developments out of Washington.

White House economic advisor Gary Cohn told the Financial Times that the tax reform plan will include a one-time low repatriation tax rate for corporate profits held overseas. He said the specific rate has not been decided. The White House has suggested a 10 percent repatriation rate in the past.

U.S. companies are holding $2.6 trillion of profits overseas to avoid paying the 35 percent corporate tax rate on earnings, according to Capital Economics.

That's why Wall Street strategists and analysts love the idea of a tax repatriation holiday, which will bring home a surge of cash to boost share prices and capital investment.

We believe "repatriated funds could provide companies with firepower for accelerated buybacks, dividend raises, organic investment and potential M&A," Goldman analyst Heather Bellini wrote earlier this year.

Strategas Research also sees several positive ramifications of corporate cash repatriation.

"The most efficient way to do that is to impose a one-time tax on the existing foreign profits overseas which will free up the cash for companies to use for dividends, share repurchases, M&A, capital expenditures, and to pay down debt," Strategas' Daniel Clifton wrote in a report last year.

These 10 companies have the largest amount of profits held overseas that will benefit from a repatriation holiday.

To be sure, the tax reform plan or even a tax cut is nowhere near a certainty. In the FT interview published Friday, Cohn said the administration does not have a "fixed or detailed plan for tax reform" and will leave it to the congressional committees to finalize the legislation.

Axios reported the tax plan is slated to come from the House Ways and Means Committee by the end of September.

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