Say what you will about President Donald Trump, his election got the market moving to new heights. But even with the flurry of executive orders, he’s been mostly quiet on one of the biggest opportunities for public companies: corporate taxes. Trump promised to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to “anywhere from 15 to 20 percent” by the end of 2017.
Such a deep cut (one not seen since 1939) would be a monumental windfall for public franchises, but one that has had varying effects on stock performance.
At Choice Hotels, for instance, a 20 percent tax rate would drive earnings per share (EPS) up 12.5 percent, but the performance since Election Day surged 13.1 percent. Wendy’s has jumped 24 percent, and could see a 16 percent EPS bump. Noodles jumped 23 percent and could see a 5 percent EPS bump.
Conversely, some companies that might benefit greatly from lower taxes aren’t seeing the same boost. Dunkin’ could see 18 percent EPS growth, but the stock is up just 6 percent. Highly valued Domino’s Pizza could see a 20 percent increase in EPS, but the stock price has risen 8 percent. Habit
Burger could see a 34 percent boost to EPS, but the stock sank 4.8 percent.
Analyst Peter Saleh at BTIG said don’t bet on 20 percent and investors shouldn’t buy any restaurant stock based on tax exposure alone.
“There might be a little bit more rhetoric than actual results. Could the tax rate come down from 35 percent to 30 percent, sure, but should you run out and buy any particular name over another because the tax rate comes down? No,” said Saleh.
“I think they’re all going to benefit, but I think you still stick with the fundamentals and the topline. That should drive the investment decision, not what is the corporate tax rate going to be.”