Markets Drop on Cap Gains Tax Talk; Q1 for INTC, MAT, SNAP

Market indexes started the day sluggish following a big bounceback mid-week, but fell off the table on a news report from Bloomberg (since validated elsewhere) that the Biden administration is considering doubling the capital gains tax on wealthy individuals to pay for his planned infrastructure program. The Dow, which never made it to the green today, fell 0.95% by the closing bell. The Nasdaq was -0.94% and the S&P 500 -0.92%. The small-cap Russell 2000 only dropped 0.31% on the day.

That this idea would be in the works by this White House should come as a surprise to no one; candidate Joe Biden had often talked up a cap-gains tax hike for those investing more than $1 million. The particulars would take this from the current 20% rate to 39.4%. Adding the existing 3.8% tax on investment income, this would bring the top yearly cap gains rate as high as 43.4%. This move would be expected to raise $1.5 trillion, which would offset most of the planned infrastructure costs.

As a result, the Dow has suffered its worst trading day since March 23rd, and the worst single session in the month of April across the three major indexes. For both the Dow and S&P, they currently are on pace for their worst trading week in two months; for the Nasdaq, it is shaping up to be the lowest trading week-long period since March 4th. Keep in mind no announcement on this cap gains hike proposal has yet been made. Also remember the Congress is very narrowly divided, which may make passage more difficult.

Intel INTC kept its long streak of earnings beats intact after Thursday’s close, reporting $1.39 per share versus $1.15 expected, though still down a tad year over year. Revenues also beat expectations: $18.57 billion versus $18.01 billion in the Zacks consensus. Net increases in North America rose 67%, +30% on the International side, with Adjusted Gross Margins up an impressive 47%. But lower-than-expected guidance of $1.05 per share next quarter ($1.09 expected) brings the specter of higher prices into the story.

Mattel MAT, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock going into its Q1 report this afternoon, where -10 cents on its bottom line was a much stronger result than the -34 cents expected and the -56 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. Revenues grew 47% year over year to $874 million, hurtling past the $686 million estimate. Guidance for next quarter and full-year 2021 will be forthcoming in the conference call. Shares are up 7.5% on the news in late trading.

Snap Inc. SNAP also outperformed expectations in its Q1 release, posting $0.00 per share from the -6 cents in the Zacks consensus, and up even higher from the -8 cents in the year-ago quarter. Revenues of $770 million in the quarter accounted for a 66% gain year over year, easily surpassing the expected $740 million.Daily Active Users grew 22% in the quarter to 280 million; over 125 million members currently use its Spotlight feature. SNAP shares are up close to 4% in late trading.

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