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AAPL After Hours: Will Capital Gains Tax Derail Apple Stock?

Apple stock dipped yet again, this time on news that President Joe Biden could propose an increase to capital gains taxes. Here is why AAPL could be impacted most.

It has not been a calm few days for Apple stock. Shares dipped on Thursday, April 22: -1.2% vs. the S&P 500's and the Nasdaq's -0.9%.

AAPL has fizzled just ahead of the company's earnings week, after enjoying a 10% rally in the first half of April. In fact, each of Apple's daily gains have been followed by a daily loss since April 8, in seesaw fashion.

Below, the Apple Maven briefly debates the key reason for weakness in Apple this Thursday: a potential increase in the capital gains tax rate for households that earn more than $1 million per year.

Apple news of the day

To be fair, Apple-specific news also surfaced on Thursday. For example, the App Store remains at center stage, this time due to speculations that the company could "build out its ad business with a second type of ad slot" within the platform.

But none of what the Apple Maven anticipated could move Apple stock on April 22 mattered much compared to news on the tax front. Bloomberg reported that the Joe Biden administration could introduce legislation to increase the capital gains tax rate to as much as 39.6% on certain individuals, a climb from 20%.

Tax hikes on corporations and wealthy taxpayers were a cornerstone of President Joe Biden's campaign for the White House. While Thursday's developments were still bearish for the markets, it is hard to argue that they were unexpected.

Why it matters to Apple stock

Higher capital gains taxes, if approved and implemented, would mean lower after-tax gains for investors across the broad. Due to lower return expectations, it is understandable that the broad indices would have declined, as they did on Thursday.

But Apple shares and other Big Tech names could suffer more than the average stock in the short term. Apple had its share price increase in value by an impressive 240% since 2019, beating the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq by a lot. Many investors who bought the stock in the last 30 months could be sitting on quite a bit of unrealized gains.

AAPL stock price action, Jan 2019 to Apr 2021

AAPL stock price action, Jan 2019 to Apr 2021

Should wealthy Apple shareholders have a chance to lock in capital gains at the current 20% tax rate by selling the stock now, they may be tempted to do so – even if they choose to reenter the position later. This is probably where selling pressures could come from, in the near term.

Key metrics on Apple stock

Apple stock continues to spin its wheels in the past few days. Here is a look at some of Apple shares' key metrics:

  • Down 1% for the year vs. the S&P 500's 11% and the Nasdaq's 7% gains.
  • Down around 8% from the January peak of $143 per share.
  • Worth about $2.22 trillion, still the most valuable US-based company.