- Companies are starting to use tax savings to pay workers more, and the industries that already pay the highest wages will see stock prices suffer, Goldman Sachs says.
- American Airlines, AT&T, Boeing, Comcast, Visa, and, most recently, JPMorgan have already announced pay hikes or bonuses.
Now that corporations are paying less in taxes, there’s a growing expectation that they’ll pay their workers more.
Since the passage of Republicans’ new tax law, many companies have wasted no time in sweetening the pot for employees. American Airlines, AT&T, Boeing, Comcast, Visa, and, most recently, JPMorgan have announced plans to either hike pay or issue bonuses.
And while that’s obviously great news for employees, it carries far starker implications for companies that already have the highest labor costs. At the same time, it also creates a stock market investing opportunity for traders able to delineate between firms that have the most and the least to lose.
A comparison of labor costs at the industry level is a good place to start. As the Goldman Sachs-created chart below shows, industrials and financials are most at risk when it comes to wage inflation, since wage costs make up the biggest share of their overall sales.
- Goldman Sachs
The trend of companies giving back tax savings to employees is likely to continue, especially if executives heed the warning issued by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink last week. Fink said “society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” and enriching the compensation of one’s workforce would seem to fit right into that.
Assuming more corporations do so, Goldman has you covered. It maintains a pair of stock baskets – one for companies with high US labor costs and one for those with low wage expenses. The firm recommends that investors seek out companies in the low-labor-cost index while avoiding those in the other.
Here’s a sampling of stocks that Goldman has in the low-wage-cost basket:
- Netflix – 1% implied labor costs, relative to revenue
- Molson Coors Brewing – 0%
- Aflac – 1%
- Express Scripts – 1%
- Qualcomm – 0%
Check back with Business Insider for the full list, out later this week.