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Markets eked out gains on Monday to close slightly higher. While tax woes continued to worry investors, gains were capped further after shares of General Electric plummeted to a five year low after releasing weak EPS guidance for 2018. However, gains for Boeing and Mattel boosted the markets. Meanwhile, the investors closely followed Trump’s visit to Asia. Speaking in Manila Trump commented that he would make an important announcement regarding trade on Wednesday in Washington.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increased a little less than 0.1%, to close at 23,439.70. The S&P 500 Index (INX) gained 0.1% to close at 2,584.84. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,757.60, gaining 0.1%. A total of 6.2 billion shares were traded on Monday, higher than the last 20-session average of 6.7 billion shares. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.27-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.02-to-1 ratio favored declining issues. The CBOE VIX increased 1.9% to close at 11.5.
Tax Woes Keep Investors on Tenterhooks
Late last week, a version of the tax plan was released by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate version differed from that of the House panel’s in several ways. Unlike the House Republicans’ tax proposals which focus on reducing corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, the Senate version supports a similar tax cut only by 2019. Also, per House Republicans, the top individual tax rate would be 39.6%, whereas the Senate version puts the ceiling rate at 38.5%. Worries over a possible delay in tax cut plans weighed on investor sentiment.
The two versions of the tax Bill will be scrutinized and debated upon before reaching on a conclusion. Such a confused state of affairs dampened investor sentiment. Moreover, market watchers speculated that no formal decision was likely on the tax Bill before Thanksgiving, with some even speculating such a decision would only take place beyond Christmas. Such events dampened investor sentiment and capped gains for the markets.
However, market analysts commented that major indexes are still trading at appreciably high levels. Such a run has been largely due to stupendous corporate earnings and a burgeoning U.S. economy.
How Did the Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow eked out meager gains, advancing 17.49 points to end in positive territory. Shares of Boeing (BA – Free Report) contributed to most of the gains for the Dow. The aero-giant’s shares gained 0.6% after it won a contract from Dubai airline Emirates for a provisional order of about 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. This deal is worth a sizeable $15.1 billion. BA possesses a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Meanwhile, shares of General Electric (GE – Free Report) tanked 7.2% to hit a five year low after the company announced weaker-than-expected EPS guidance for 2018. For the next year, the electric giant expects EPS in the range of $1.00-$1.07, which is significantly lower than the 2017 guidance of $1.05-$1.10 a share. The company also reduced its dividend by 50% in a bid to focus more on health care, aviation and energy business segments. Such a decline in the shares of GE weighed both on the Dow and the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 gained 0.1% to end in the green. Of the 11 major segments of the S&P 500, eight ended in positive territory. Shares of Mattel, Inc. (MAT – Free Report) surged 20.7% after Hasbro, Inc. (HAS – Free Report) approached the former for a potential takeover. Such gains for the toymaker boosted the S&P 500. However, gains for the benchmark was capped after shares of GE declined and weighed on the S&P 500.
Meanwhile, Nasdaq also gained 0.1% to end in the green. The tech-heavy index was boosted by gains for the shares of Facebook (FB – Free Report) , Amazon (AMZN – Free Report) and Netflix (NFLX – Free Report) , which advanced 0.2%, 0.3% and 1.6%, respectively.
Investors Have a Keen Eye on Trump’s Visit to Asia
Market watchers closely followed Trump’s visit to Asia. On his 13-day visit to the continent, Trump has given hints regarding a ‘major statement’ on trade that he is expected to make on Wednesday in Washington. Speaking in Manila at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, Trump also mentioned that that he would announce details regarding the meetings he had with supreme leaders of China, South Korea and ‘lots of other places’, refusing to divulge any further details about the announcement.
Stocks That Made Headlines
Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE – Free Report) recently agreed to divest its carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery operation, Weyburn oil facility in Saskatchewan to Whitecap Resources Inc, based in western Canada. (Read More)
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