The question of whether the Trump administration would in fact be able to make good on a key campaign promise regarding tax reform has been answered. The President has signed the new tax bill into law, and with it comes a host of changes to the U.S. tax code.
The legislation has faced numerous hurdles, and opinion of the bill is widely split along party lines. Democrats seem to be of the opinion that the bill really only benefits the top earners, while republicans seem to think the bill will benefit nearly all taxpayers. The slashing of the corporate tax rate down to 21% from 35% could potentially make big waves for the economy, although it remains unclear just how much of a ripple it may produce.
Some companies have already announced bonuses to be paid out to employees following the passage of the tax bill. Other companies have also raised their minimum wages. It will likely take some time before any real trickle-down effects are seen. But that is the hope: that corporations keeping more money will use those tax savings on growth, investment and higher wages-all major economic drivers.
Now that the tax legislation has become law, investors will once again turn their attention elsewhere. The current geopolitical climate, the cryptocurrency craze, higher stocks and the notion of rising rates will all be considered by investors as the year draws to a close. In fact, the last few trading sessions of the year will likely feature slowing volumes, and could see some heightened volatility based on a lack of any significant volume.
The gold market has been moving higher once again, as the bears have not been able to capitalize on any recent weakness. The market has stood its ground quite well in fact, which would seemingly be indicative of underlying strength. The question is: does the market have enough of a tailwind to penetrate recent highs and make a sustainable move higher. Perhaps that question will be in answered in the first quarter of 2018.
Heading into the New Year, the aging stock bull market continues on while the geopolitical scene remains extremely challenging. There is also, of course, the Fed and whether or not it decides to stick with its plans for another three rate hikes in 2018. Investors will no doubt have plenty of issues to chew on as 2017 comes to an end.
Gold investors seem content biding their time until the next shoe drops. The next major bullish catalyst for gold could come in several different forms, from a stock market collapse to an escalation with North Korea to signs of recession. Whatever the case may be, the market could be close to a substantial breakout. With the potential for a stock market reversal or even collapse, geopolitical tensions that rival those of the Cold War and other economic issues, such a breakout in gold would arguably be on the upside. If such a move does occur, the market could be off to the races, and could not only challenge but possibly exceed previous all-time highs in a short period of time.