Trading Nation

Dow rips 331 points higher, closes above 24,000 as chances of Senate tax bill passing rise

Key Points
  • The Dow and S&P 500 both hit all-time highs on Thursday.
  • Wall Street awaited a Senate vote on tax reform.
  • The Nasdaq composite tried to recover from sharp losses in the previous session.
Dow rips 331 points higher, closes above 24,000 as chances of Senate tax bill passing rise
Dow rips 331 points higher, closes above 24,000 as chances of Senate tax bill passing rise

Stocks rallied on Thursday as the possibility of the Senate passing a bill aimed at overhauling the U.S. tax code increased.

The Dow Jones industrial average surged 331.67 points to close above 24,000 for the first time, with United Technologies leading advancers on the 30-stock index.

The advanced 0.8 percent to close at 2,647.58 — an all-time high — with industrials and information technology among the best-performing sectors. L Brands and Kroger were the best-performing stocks in the index.

The Nasdaq composite rose 0.7 percent to close at 6,873.97, rebounding from a 2 percent decline in the previous session. Tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Apple all traded higher.

Major U.S. Indexes

"This tax-reform bill is not just about" potentially lowering taxes said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "It's also a psychological factor that Congress can get something done. That would be a positive."

Sen. John McCain said Thursday he would support the bill, making it more likely that the GOP-led Senate will pass its bill. The Senate is expected to vote later on Thursday. If the upper chamber's bill passes, the House and Senate would have to work on a new bill they can send to President Donald Trump.

Tax reform was one of Trump's main talking points during his campaign last year. After he won, expectations of lower corporate taxes grew in the stock market, helping equities jump to record highs.

But Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, said lower corporate taxes may not help as much as investors may think. "The effective tax rate among S&P 500 companies is already 26 percent. A 20 percent corporate tax rate would help, but it would not be as big a boon to large companies as it would be to small companies," he said.

Traders celebrate on the main trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Dow Jones Industrial Average passes the 20,000 mark shortly after the opening of the trading session in New York, U.S., January 25, 2017.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

The Russell 2000, which tracks small-cap stocks, hit a record high on Wednesday and is up 1.7 percent this week. Small caps tend to benefit more from the tax cut as most get their revenues domestically

The major indexes were coming off a bifurcated session in which sharp gains in bank shares were offset by a rollover in tech stocks.

Tech was "being used as a source of funds for investors wishing to increase positions in sectors more likely to benefit from a potential tax reform," said Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management.

Thursday also marked the last trading day of November. The Dow notched its first eight-month winning streak since 1995. The S&P 500, meanwhile, posted its longest monthly winning streak since 2007 at eight. The Nasdaq composite also closed higher for the month.

Wall Street also looked to Vienna as OPEC members and other oil-producing countries agreed to extend production cuts until the end of 2018. Crude prices rose slightly to settle at $57.40 per barrel on Thursday.

In corporate news, Kroger jumped more than 6 percent after the company forecast strong same-store sales for the four quarter and posted better-than-expected earnings.

Meanwhile, Costco shares climbed 3.9 percent after the company reported a 7.9 percent rises in same-store sales for November.

HCA Healthcare jumped 6.1 percent after analysts at JPMorgan singled the stock out as a tax-cut play.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the S&P 500 had its best day since March 1.