Capgains Trapped Investors
Jude Wanniski
April 17, 2000


We will be doing further analysis in the days ahead of the impact tax selling had on the market decline since mid- March -- and its implications. One factor we must note is that small investors were trapped with 1999 tax liabilities and short-term capital gains that faced ordinary income tax rates. The would first expect to be able to see a few shares at high prices late in the pre-April 15 period, but as the selloff continued they had to make bets on how many shares they would have to sell and how many investments would qualify for long-term gains prior to April 15. Many investors, of course, were oblivious to the problem, never before having faced this situation. The difference in many states is 30 percentage points on combined federal and state rates. The Dow was sucked along as investors sold in a rush last week only because they had long-term gains in the Old Economy and big short-term gains in NASDAQ. The links to our March 30, April 12, and April 14 briefs are available here.