Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) move to pump around $350 billion into the U.S. economy over the next five years marks not only the biggest domestic corporate investment program in history but may also provide further price support for record-high stocks as companies use the recently-passed tax overhaul to repatriate trillions in overseas cash.
Apple unveiled plans to pay a tax bill of around $38 billion on an undefined portion of its $252.2 billion overseas cash pile Wednesday while announcing plans to spend $30 billion on both existing company sites and a new campus that will be "powered entirely by green energy". The Cupertino, California-based company also said it would increase its headcount by around 20,000 and said its overall contribution to the U.S. economy will top $350 billion over the next five years.
President Donald Trump hailed the decision as a vindication for his drive to lower the U.S. corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% and encourage firms to bring some of their estimated $3.1 trillion in overseas cash back to the United States in order to create new jobs and stoke domestic investment.
I promised that my policies would allow companies like Apple to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States. Great to see Apple follow through as a result of TAX CUTS. Huge win for American workers and the USA! https://t.co/OwXVUyLOb1- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook, however, told ABC News that "there are large parts of this (tax and investment plan ) that are a result of the tax reform, and there's large parts of this we would have done in any situation."
We've got a lot of issues with the #US tax reform packages but there's no doubt that changes to the way overseas assets are taxed when they're bought back on shore are a big factor behind the Apple decision to repatriate cash and invest some in US - which is what Trump wanted.- Robin Bew (@RobinBew) January 18, 2018
Analysts are now wondering what impact Apple's decision may have on broader financial markets, given that a portion of the cash Apple will return to the United States will be used for dividend payments and share buybacks.
The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, gained 0.21% in overnight trading to bounce-backed hard from teh three-month low of 90.28 it reached in Tuesday's session as investors anticipated a near-term boost from similar corporate repatriations.
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Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yields were also on the rise, gaining 3 basis points to hit 2.6% for the first time in more than a year. Two-year note yields, meanwhile, were marked at a nine-year high of 2.055%.
However, the Dutch investment bank ING thinks the new tax code changes will likely provide a bigger boost for U.S. equity markets than they will for the beaten-down U.S. dollar.
"Rather than a direct impact on physical demand for the dollar, the indirect impact will come through support for US equity markets and business investment," wrote ING analysts in a blogpost Thursday. Apple's repatriated cash will also "presumably also find its way into share buy-backs and dividends", providing a further share prices boost for the world's biggest tech company.
Apple shares were marked 0.22% higher in pre-market trading Thursday, indicating an opening bell price of $179.49 each, a move that would extend their three-month gain to around 11.85%.