Stocks fell Thursday, Nov. 2, after talking points were made public on the House GOP's tax plan before a detailed bill is released later in the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3%, the S&P 500 slid 0.4%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.4%.
House Republicans have proposed major tax reform changes, designed to permanently cut the corporate tax rate and lift some of the tax burden off of the middle class, according to details obtained by The New York Times Thursday morning. The plan proposes holding the top tax rate at 39.6% for high-earning individuals, increasing a child tax credit by $600 to $1,600, and leaving 401(k) contribution amounts unchanged.
The bill also reduces the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35% on a permanent basis, refuting earlier reports that the cut would be a temporary one.
Changes to how much Americans can deduct on their mortgages came as one of the largest shocks, sending homebuilder stocks into a tailspin. House Republicans propose that Americans can lower taxable income on mortgages of $500,000 or less, a cut from the current deductible level of up to $1 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI) , Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL) , Lennar Corp. (LEN) , and Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) were sharply lower on Thursday morning.
The House Ways and Means Committee is set to release the tax reform bill, named 'The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,' late morning Thursday after pushing it back from an expected Wednesday release.
Investors had previously seen few details on highly anticipated reform, though the promise of lower corporate taxes supported market gains in recent months. The Trump White House promised tax cuts for individuals and businesses, but details on how they will be paid for without blowing up the deficit had not been forthcoming. The search for sufficient revenue generators to cover tax cuts has reportedly held up lawmakers in making the bill public.
Trump is expected to reveal his pick for new central bank chair Thursday afternoon. Jerome Powell has been reported to be named as the new chair, taking over from current Chair Janet Yellen who has held onto the seat since 2014. Over those years, Yellen has overseen the Fed's slow-and-steady move away from near-zero rates and toward normal monetary policy. In comments at an unrelated press event Wednesday, Trump called Yellen "excellent," though did not say whether he backed her as his nominee.
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Fed decided to leave the federal funds rate unchanged at 1% to 1.25%, a widely expected decision following a two-day meeting. The chances of an interest rate hike at the November meeting sat at just 2% before Wednesday's announcement, according to CME Group fed funds futures. The chances of a hike increase to 96% at the December meeting.
Members of the Federal Open Market Committee also said that the U.S. economy warrants gradual increases and anticipates rates to continue to rise at future meetings. The central bank also called the U.S. economy "solid" despite hurricane disruptions -- the decision-making arm does not expect the effect of hurricanes to change the course of growth. The Fed also said the labor market continues to strengthen, but did note that inflation remains "soft" and below its 2% target.
"Our community continues to grow and our business is doing well," wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "But none of that matters if our services are used in ways that don't bring people closer together. We're serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. We're investing so much in security that it will impact our profitability. Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits."
Facebook reported third-quarter earnings of $1.59 a share, well ahead of estimates of $1.28, while revenue in the quarter jumped 47% from a year earlier to $10.33 billion.
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DowDuPont Inc. (DWDP) topped profit and sales estimates over its recent quarter and also announced plans to implement job cuts. The recently merged company earned an adjusted 55 cents a share, above consensus of 42 cents. Pro forma sales gained 8% to $18.29 billion, exceeding expectations. DowDuPont hopes to reach $3 billion in cost savings through restructuring. The company reported a $180 million third-quarter charge tied to those plans and expects a $1 billion charge over the fourth quarter.
Cigna Corp. (CI) added more than 2% after reporting a rise in quarterly profit. Earnings increased to $2.21 a share from $1.76 a share. Adjusted earnings rose to $2.83 from $1.94 a year earlier and beat estimates of $2.35. Its full-year adjusted earnings guidance was raised to $10.20 to $10.40 a share.
Weekly jobless claims declined in the past week, while monthly jobless claims hit their lowest level since April 1973. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits declined by 5,000 to 229,000 in the past week. The less volatile four-week claims average fell by 7,250 to 232,500.
A reading on productivity and costs showed increases mostly across the board over the third quarter. Quarterly productivity in the U.S. rose by 3%, its best increase in three years, while output increased 3.8%. Hours worked rose by 0.8% and unit labor costs increased 0.5%. Manufacturing productivity tumbled, though, falling by 5% over the third quarter.
The U.S. jobs report is set for release on Friday, Nov. 3. Investors expect a solid rebound on nonfarm payrolls in October after the first contraction in seven years in September. Consensus is for 310,000 jobs to have been added to the U.S. economy and for the unemployment rate to hold at 4.2%, according to FactSet. Year-over-year hourly earnings are expected to have increased 2.7%.
Updated from 9:33 a.m. ET, Nov. 2.