Stocks close at all-time highs as odds of tax bill passing increase

  • The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 139 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite gained 0.9 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
  • The plan will likely cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.
  • Lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill next week.

U.S. stocks rose to all-time highs on Friday as expectations of a Republican tax bill passing increased.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 139 points to 24,651.74, a record. The S&P 500 gained 0.9 percent to finish at 2,675.81, also hitting an all-time high, with financials, staples, health care and tech all rising at least 1 percent. The Nasdaq composite advanced 1.2 percent to a record close of 6,936.58.

The plan will likely cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Expectations of lower corporate taxes have helped boost stocks to record levels this year. Entering Friday's session, the S&P 500 had risen 18.5 percent.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill next week.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 30, 2017.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 30, 2017.

"A cut in the corporate tax rate, effective next year, along with continued deregulation should bolster profits," said Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research. "Industry analysts are projecting earnings gains of 10.9% this year, 11.4% next year, and 10.1% in 2019. Presumably, these numbers don't fully reflect the likely big positive impact of a cut in the corporate tax rate next year."

The major averages reached their session highs following reports that Republicans had agreed to extend the child tax credit. Sources told CNBC that Republican Sen. Marco Rubio will support the tax bill after the tweaks.

There had been concerns about the tax bill passing this year, after Rubio said Thursday he would vote against the bill if the proposed child tax credit was not extended. Fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee also said Thursday he was undecided on the GOP plan.

The major indexes were trading higher before the news about the senators broke, but closed lower on Thursday. The Dow also snapped a five-day winning streak.

Bob Corker, a Republican senator from Tenessee who originally opposed the bill, said Friday he would vote in favor of the measure.

"I think the bill is likely to pass, but if it doesn't, we could see a 5-to-10 percent decline in stocks," said Ed Keon, managing director and portfolio manager at QMA, the quantitative and dynamic asset allocation business of PGIM.

The Dow and S&P posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains, while the Nasdaq snapped a two-week slide.

In corporate news, shares of Hess jumped 2.3 percent after reports that Elliott Management is pushing for CEO John Hess to step down or for the company to sell all or part of its business.

Meanwhile, Costco shares rose 3.3 percent after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales.

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Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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