The controversial Republican tax bill is not yet final, but Wall Street already has a picture of how the bottom line of companies such as Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , Facebook Inc. (FB) , Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) will improve.
Many tech stocks pulled back early this week as money flowed into sectors that would see greater benefits from the bill, of which a majority of Americans disapprove, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. The software industry has a relatively low median effective tax rate of 23%, according to Credit Suisse, which falls below the S&P 500's rate of 27.4%. Transports are taxed at a median effective rate of 36.2% and telecom at 34%, and have more to gain from being lowered.
The big tech companies may not benefit as much as their peers that pay more taxes. Cowen & Co. analyst John Blackledge noted Thursday that reducing the corporate rate from 35% to 22%, where President Trump said it could settle, will have a noticeable effect on profits.
The new rules could save $723 million for Amazon in 2018, Blackledge estimates. Amazon's effective tax rate would fall from 30% to 13.25%, he estimates. The cash could boost Amazon's projected 2018 earnings by 24.2%, from $5.69 per share under the current rules to $7.07 per share under the Republican plan.
Facebook stands to gain $1.56 billion from the tax cuts, Blackledge estimates. Its earnings would climb 7.7%, from $6.87 to $7.40 per share.
Meanwhile, Alphabet would save $2.28 billion, producing an 8.1% increase in earnings from $39.92 to $43.15 per share.
When calculating the earnings upside, Blackledge did not take into account a provision allowing companies to expense 100% of capex or tax break on repatriated cash. Both provisions would also help the big tech companies.
Amazon, Facebook and Google will spend $234 billion in capex from 2018 to 2022, the analyst estimates.
Alphabet, which has 60% of its $100 billion in cash overseas, would cash in on a tax holiday. Apple Inc. (AAPL) would be the biggest beneficiary, with more than $250 billion overseas.
In the telecom sector, Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson LLC projects that Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) will gain 80 cents per share in 2018 earnings because of the bill. The analyst upped his EPS forecast more than 20% from $3.87 under the current tax rules to $4.67 per share under the new plan.
T-Mobile US Inc.'s (TMUS) earnings will improve by 24% from $2.68 to $3.33 per share, Moffett projects. Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) stands to earn $2.98 per share in 2018, nearly 22% more than Moffett's estimate of $2.45 per share under the existing tax rules.
AT&T Inc.'s (T) projected 2018 earnings would rise a modest 7.25%, from $2.76 per share under the current tax law to $2.96 per share under the new rules. AT&T has a low tax rate, so the impact to the top line is less pronounced. The cuts have the important benefit, Moffett noted, of helping to stabilize AT&T's dividend.
Sprint Corp. (S) was on track to lose 18 cents per share, by Moffett's calculations, and so will not see an EPS boost.
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