U.S. Stock ETFs Slip after Biden's Stimulus Plan Stokes Tax Hike Fears

U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds dipped Friday after President-elect Joe Biden revealed a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, triggering fears of a tax hike to pay for the aid package.

On Friday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) fell 0.2%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) was down 0.3%, and iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) dropped 0.4%.

Biden’s new stimulus package proposal includes $415 billion for distribution of vaccines, $1 trillion to households, and $440 billion for small businesses and communities, Reuters reports.

Market observers are worried about the price tag of this new spending plan.

“Biden’s concern is not the stock market, his concern is Main Street and that’s a good thing … but that tells you there’s going to be an increase in corporate taxes,” Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trading LLC, told Reuters.

Others, though, said investors shouldn’t be thrown off by Biden’s stimulus plan. Esty Dwek, the head of global market strategy at Natixis Investment Managers, argued that we expected a large number, and Congress will likely churn out a smaller package, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It’s almost a buy-the-rumor, sell-the-fact trade,” Dwek told the WSJ.

On the economic front, Friday’s retail sales report revealed the ongoing need for some kind of economic aid to support flagging growth. The latest data showed U.S. consumers cut back on spending in December, the peak of the holiday season, while a resurgence of coronavirus cases spread across the country. Additionally, the number of workers filing for jobless benefits showed its biggest weekly gain since the pandemic hit last March.

“When you see data this bad, you have to question if the prevailing expectation—for cyclical recovery to come through—if that would be shaken,” Wei Li, head of investment strategy for BlackRock’s exchange-traded fund and index investments for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told the WSJ.

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