Wall Street headed into the weekend in good spirits with all three major indexes ending at records as Congress took the first legislative steps toward tax reform.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.71% on Friday, Oct. 20, the S&P 500 added 0.51% and the Nasdaq increased 0.36%. Those gains pushed all three to records, the Dow and S&P 500 for their fifth session in a row.
Senate lawmakers voted largely along party lines late Thursday, Oct. 19, to pass a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that will likely be supported by Congress and could pave the way for tax cut legislation in the coming months. The agreement also includes a mechanism which will enable the tax code to be re-written on the basis of a simple majority vote in the chamber, as opposed to the 60 votes needed at present. Republicans hold 51 of the 100 seats in the Senate, against 49 held by Democrats.
"This resolution creates a pathway to unleash the potential of the American economy through tax reform and tax cuts, simplifying the overcomplicated tax code, providing financial relief for families across the country, and making American businesses globally competitive," the White House said in a statement.
In a tweet Friday, Trump added, "This now allows for the passage of large scale Tax Cuts (and Reform), which will be the biggest in the history of our country!"
Analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote late last month that the Senate proposals could translate to around $1.5 trillion in tax cuts that are spread over the next 10 years, and are equivalent to around 0.6% of current GDP.
Stock market gains in recent months have largely been supported by the promise of tax reform from the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. However, the reforms proposed have been criticized as largely benefiting the already-rich and 1%.
It was a busy day on the earnings calendar. General Electric Co. (GE) pared losses to turn higher even after missing quarterly profit estimates for the first in more than two years. The industrial conglomerate reported net income of 21 cents a share, a penny less than a year earlier. Adjusted profit of 29 cents a share fell far below estimates of 49 cents. Revenue rose 14% to $33.47 billion, coming in roughly $1 billion above consensus. CEO John Flannery, in his first quarter since assuming the position, said that this was a "challenging quarter," largely tied to a decline in its power unit.
Procter & Gamble (PG) fell nearly 4% after a mixed quarter. Net income rose to $1.06 a share from $1.09 a share in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted profit of $1.09 a share came in a penny above estimates. Revenue climbed 1% to $16.65 billion, coming in below estimates of $16.69 billion. By segment, revenue in its baby, feminine and family lines fell short of estimates, while beauty and fabric and home care exceeded expectations.
PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL) rose 5.5% on Friday to an all-time high after the company posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and lifted its full-year guidance thanks to a surge in mobile payments. PayPal said sales for the three months ended in September rose 21% from the same period a year earlier to $3.24 billion, while adjusted earnings in the period were 46 cents a share. Analysts were looking for sales of $3.18 billion and earnings of 43 cents. Total payment volumes, the company said, surged 30% to $114 billion, a figure that also topped the Wall Street consensus of $109 billion.
PayPal said it expects revenue for the fourth quarter to come in between $3.57 billion to $3.63 billion, a modestly slower growth rate when compared to the third quarter, translating to an earnings per share rate of between 50 cents and 52 cents a share.
Honeywell International Inc. (HON) jumped 1.25% on Friday after reporting earnings in-line with estimates and sales slightly higher. Earnings increased to $1.75 a share over the third quarter, up from $1.60 a share a year earlier. The result met consensus. Revenue of $10.12 billion edged past estimates of $10.01 billion. Honeywell reiterated 2017 profit guidance of $7.05 to $7.10 a share.
Skechers USA Inc. (SKX) surged 41% after soaring past third-quarter estimates. Earnings rose from 42 cents a share last year to 59 cents in this quarter. Analysts expected earnings of 43 cents. Revenue climbed to a record $1.1 billion as international wholesale sales climbed 26% and a 1.4% gain in domestic wholesale sales. Total comparable-store sales rose by 4.4%.
Just under one-fifth of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far, the majority of which have bested profit and sales estimates. Analysts anticipate blended earnings growth of 4.2% in the third quarter, or 2.1% excluding energy, according to Thomson Reuters estimates. Revenue is expected to rise by 4.4%.
Crude oil prices traded slightly higher on renewed optimism over production cuts among some of the world's largest oil producers. Mohammad Barkindo, secretary-general at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said on Thursday that global oil demand would likely surpass 100 million barrels per day by 2020 and that inventory overhang has fallen.
The number of active oil rigs in the U.S. fell in the past week. The Baker Hughes oil rig count declined by seven to 736 in the past week. The overall rig count declined by 15 to 913, its sixth decline in the past seven weeks.
West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery closed 0.4% higher at $51.47 a barrel on Friday.
The energy sector was the best performer on Friday. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) , Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A) , Chevron Corp. (CVX) and BP PLC (BP) were all slightly higher. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) increased 0.22%.
Other stock movers included Celgene Corp. (CELG) which fell 10% after discontinuing two clinical trials for its Chrohn's disease treatment. The drugmaker also said it would not begin a third trial following late-stage clinical trial results. Baird Equity Research downgraded its rating on Celgene to neutral on the news. The firm said Celgene has "lower prospects for long-term growth."
In economic news, the pace of existing home sales in the U.S. showed a surprise increase in September. The measure increased by 0.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.39 million, higher than 5.3 million consensus. August's pace was unrevised at 5.35 million. The median price of existing home sales rose 4.2% to $245,100. Hurricanes hurt activity in the South with closings falling 0.9% in the region.
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