A cool half trillion dollars!
That’s how much major US tech companies have parked overseas.
Blame the Russian intrigue surrounding the White House.
As long the Trump Administration is distracted by investigations into whether it colluded with the Russians to hack the 2016 election, the odds of a major tax reform overhaul are low, in my opinion.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and various committees in Congress have launched probes that are still in the early stages.
Some tech investors were banking on a wave of cash returning to American shores if Washington came up with a deal that lowered the US corporate tax rate of 35% to 15% or so to lure companies into repatriating their earnings.
And we are talking about some serious money.
The 10 largest tech companies in terms of market value have some $545 billion sitting offshore.
According to FactSet, S&P 500 businesses more broadly had $1.5 trillion-plus in cash stashed abroad as of the third quarter of 2016.
The hope was that with all that money returning, tech companies would be more willing to invest at home or rush to buy other companies, sparking a merger-driven stock rally.
That might still happen if Team Trump can put its Russian troubles behind it.
Trouble is, for the moment at least, that looks unlikely in my view.
- Xavier Brenner has covered global market, business and economic trends for Interactive Brokers Asset Management since 2013. An experienced financial journalist, Brenner offers analysis and insights on the stories that matter to the discerning investor.