GOP tax reveal to set off 'corporate hunger games'

Details of GOP tax plan released
Details of GOP tax plan released

1. Tax bill revealed: President Trump's push to overhaul the U.S. tax system is about to face its biggest test yet.

Up until this point, the GOP tax "plan" has been limited to a broad, mostly detail-free framework of ideas that many lawmakers and business groups could get behind. But come Wednesday, it will be all about the details when House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady promises to unveil his 1,000-page tax reform bill.

And it's those critical details in the bill that could make or break the legislation. At issue: How will Brady propose to pay for the big business tax cuts Republicans have promised? Lawmakers, businesses and lobbyists will fight tooth and nail to preserve tax breaks they covet.

"Expect them to push back as if this was a life-or-death struggle because for many, it is," Chris Krueger, managing director of the Cowen Washington Research Group, wrote in a recent report. "Welcome to the corporate hunger game."

The official path to modernize America's outdated tax system was created when the House narrowly (216-212) passed a budget this week that includes instructions to fast-track a tax reform bill that allows for $1.5 trillion worth of tax cuts over 10 years.

But it won't be an easy path. "The road ahead is bumpy and riddled with potholes," Isaac Boltansky, senior policy analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading, wrote in a recent report.

Of course, Wall Street will be watching the tax battle very closely because hopes for massive tax cuts have helped send the stock market to new heights in recent months. Investors could get nervous if it looks like those tax cuts will be scuttled by GOP infighting.

In any case, "expect some near-term volatility both in Washington and on Wall Street once the legislative text is released," Boltansky said.

2. Jobs report: The Labor Department is scheduled to release October's job numbers on Friday.

The U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September -- the first monthly decline in employment in seven years -- thanks in large part to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But overall, America's job market is in good shape. Unemployment is at a 16-year low, and weekly jobless claims are consistently down.

The only problem is that wages aren't increasing by very much, making it difficult for consumers to keep pace with inflation. We'll see on Friday whether that continues to be the case.

3. Fed meets as Trump mulls new chair: The Federal Reserve meets this week, with a decision on interest rates set to be announced on Wednesday.

Don't expect too much: The Fed is not likely to raise rates this time. But Janet Yellen's term as Fed chair is coming to an end, and President Trump is expected to pick her successor -- or decide to stick with her -- next week. So even without a rate hike, there's a chance we could hear something interesting from Yellen.

4. Apple's fourth quarter results: Apple (AAPL, Tech30) is set to announce its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday. In August, Apple said it expects sales for the quarter to come in as high as $52 billion.

Since then, the company has announced and launched three new phones. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been on sale for weeks, and customers were able start ordering the iPhone X online this week. The X will hit stores on Friday.

So far, sales of the 8 and 8 plus have reportedly been lackluster. According to the research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the 8 and 8 plus accounted for just 16% of total U.S. iPhone sales in the quarter ending on October 1. The iPhone 7 and 7 plus, for comparison's sake, made up 43% of sales in the same time last year.

5. Facebook earnings: Facebook (FB, Tech30) heads to the earnings stage on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, at least, the social media giant has had a successful 2017. The company's stock has soared more than 50% this year. And though Facebook's growth has been slowing, the company is still expanding.

But the company has also had some very public faux pas, from CEO Mark Zuckerberg's virtual visit to Puerto Rico to revelations that the social media platform hosted Russia-linked ads. Investors might ask Facebook to explain itself.

6. Coming this week:

Monday -- Mondelēz (MDLZ) reports earnings

Tuesday -- Aetna (AET), Kellogg (K), Pfizer (PFE), MasterCard (MA), Under Armour (UA) report earnings

Wednesday -- Facebook, New York Times (NYT), Tesla (TSLA) report earnings; House releases tax reform bill

Thursday -- Apple, Starbucks (SBUX), Yum! Brands (YUM), Ralph Lauren (RL), CBS (CBS) earnings

Friday -- October jobs report; iPhone X hits stores

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