By Sara Sjolin and Anora M. Gaudiano, MarketWatch
Rally in technology shares send Nasdaq to all-time high
All three main U.S. stock-market benchmarks closed at records on Friday and booked weekly gains, as investor expectations grew for passage of Republican-backed tax-cut legislation.
What are stock indexes are doing?
The S&P 500 index gained 23.80 points, or 0.9%, to close at 2,675.81, with 10 of the 11 main sectors ending in positive territory. Technology, consumer staples and health-care stocks led gains, up more than 1%. The energy sector ended flat.
For the week, the benchmark index gained 0.9%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 143.08 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 24,651.74, with 26 of its 30 components finishing higher. Over the week, the blue-chip index is up 1.3%.
Both the S&P 500 and Dow booked weekly gain for the past four consecutive weeks.
The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 80.06 points, or 1.2%, to end at 6,936.58, and gained 1.4% over the week.
The Russell 2000 rallied 23.42 points, or 1.6%, to 1,530.38 and gained 0.6% over the week. The small-cap index is less than 1% away from its record close set last month.
What’s driving the markets?
Politics surrounding the tax bill continued to influence markets. A last-minute expansion of the child tax credit persuaded Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, to back the measure. Rubio on Thursday threatened to vote against the tax bill unless it included an expansion of the child tax credit.
See:Here’s what’s in the Republican tax deal (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-whats-in-the-republican-tax-deal-2017-12-13)
Some analysts said the economic environment remains good for stocks even though the Federal Reserve sees more rate increases next year than the market is pricing in. On Wednesday, the Fed raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point and the so-called dot-plot suggested three more rate increases next year.
What are strategists saying?
“We’ve got this far with the tax bill that it will be passed whether you love it or hate it,” said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior analyst and portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group.
“There is definitely a momentum in the market thanks to the prospect of tax cuts, but let’s not forget that the economic growth is also pretty good and has been supporting the market all year. The retail sales this week suggest that consumers are spending,” Forrest said.
What’s new in economics?
The Empire State manufacturing index fell slightly (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/empire-state-index-slips-for-third-month-in-december-2017-12-15)in December, to a reading of 18 from 19.6 in November, the New York Fed said Friday. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions, though it is the third drop in a row.
Industrial production (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-industrial-production-posts-third-gain-in-a-row-in-november-as-factories-hum-2017-12-15)in the U.S. rose 0.2% in November to mark the third straight advance.
Which stocks are in focus?
Some of the last earnings reports of the year were also in focus, particularly figures from Oracle Corp.(ORCL), whose shares slumped 3.8%. The software company late Thursday delivered disappointing second-quarter growth numbers for its cloud business (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-shares-slide-as-cloud-growth-misses-street-view-2017-12-14).
Adobe Systems Inc.(ADBE) rose 1.4% after beating forecasts with its earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/adobe-shares-rise-after-fourth-quarter-earnings-beat-2017-12-14) out late Thursday.
Shares of Under Armour, Inc.(UAA) jumped 9.4% after the sports-apparel maker announced official partnership with Team Canada through 2024. The stock lost nearly half of its market value since the start of the year, however.
Costco Wholesale Corp.(COST) shares rallied 3.3% after the retailer in Thursday’s after-hours session reported first-quarter earnings and sales above Wall Street forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/costco-shares-rise-after-retailers-q1-earnings-beat-2017-12-14).
Shares of CSX Corp.(CSX) dropped 7.6% after railroad disclosed that chief executive Hunter Harrison is taking a medical leave.
What are other markets doing?
The dollar rose against rivals, with the ICE U.S. Dollar index up 0.5% to 93.929.
Crude oil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-fights-to-stay-positive-as-supply-concerns-niggle-2017-12-15) settled higher, up 0.5% to $57.30 a barrel, while gold rose 40 cents to settle at $1,257.50 and booked its first weekly gain in a month.
Bitcoin futures rallied 8% to $18,100, after falling for three straight sessions. Spot bitcoin prices were up 6.9% at $17,668, according to CoinDesk.
Asian markets closed mainly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-stocks-track-wall-street-declines-kospi-rebounds-2017-12-15), following the weaker close in the U.S. on Thursday. The negative sentiment also spilled over to Europe , where all major indexes ended in red.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 15, 2017 16:46 ET (21:46 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.