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Shares in a number of big tech companies are falling in pre-market trading on Wednesday as investors digest what a Donald Trump presidency could mean for the sector.

More than $1.2tn of US corporate earnings kept overseas by companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google to avoid tax charges could be brought back to the country under plans by Mr Trump for tax holiday of repatriated profits.

Donald Trump has proposed cutting the tax rate to just 10 per cent on income held overseas to bring money back to the US for investment domestically as part of his wider ranging plans to reduce the corporate tax rate, report Daniel Thomas and Vanessa Houlder in London.

Under current law, companies bringing back foreign earnings to the US can trigger a tax liability of up to 39 per cent.

The largest beneficiaries of the move would be the large American technology groups, which have in particular taken advantage of low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland to avoid the high statutory tax rates of bringing their profits back to the US.

US companies outside the financial sector held $1.2tn of cash overseas at the end of 2015, according to Moody’s, with the largest hoarders including Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Google and Oracle.

Apple alone has about $200bn stashed overseas that has helped the group minimise its tax bill. The iPhone maker has become the centre of efforts by the European Commission to crack down on tax avoidance.

Although Mr Trump’s tax policy could save tech companies billions, uncertainty over his policies are weighing on the sector.

Ahead of the bell, shares in Apple were down 2.3 per cent, Microsoft’s dropped 2.8 per cent and those for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, fell 2.2 per cent. Oracle shares were under pressure, down 2.9 per cent while Cisco’s declined 2.6 per cent.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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