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 April 20, 2017 - 4:37 PM EDT
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Stocks Vault on Federal Tax Hint

Stocks Vault on Federal Tax Hint

Stocks south of the border chugged ahead on Thursday as more companies released quarterly results while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration was close to "major tax reform."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rocketed 174.22 points to 20,578.71, after the blue-chip index dropped 200 points in the past two days.

Goldman Sachs and American Express contributed the most gains, the credit-card giant reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, lifted in part by higher spending numbers from card members.

The S&P 500 spiked 17.67 points to 2,355.84, with financials, industrials and materials rising more than 1% to lead advancers.

The NASDAQ Composite added 53.74 points to 5,916.78, and posted a record close.

Verizon, another Dow member, missed the mark on both earnings and revenue. The company attributed a 5.1% drop in sales to decreased overage revenue, lower postpaid customers in the quarter and continued promotional activity.

Railway giant CSX posted better-than-expected results and said it expects profit to jump 25% this year. The stock rose more than 5% to lead the Dow transports, which popped more than 1.5%.

As of Thursday afternoon, according to market experts, 79% of the 82 S&P 500 components that had reported quarterly results topped earnings-per-share estimates, while 70% have topped sales expectations

Other firms reporting earnings today – either before the open or after the close – include Philip Morris, ABB, Bank of NY Mellon, Alliance Data, PPG Industries, and Imax.

Mnuchin, who this week backed off of his earlier goal of passing tax reform by August, said the White House will unveil a plan "very soon." However, the Trump administration previously set deadlines for releasing its tax plan that it did not meet.

In economic news, initial jobless claims rose to 244,000, topping expectations, while the Philadelphia Fed business index fell to 22 in April from 32.8 in March. Leading indicators rose more than expected in March.

Investors also looked ahead to the first round of the French presidential election, which is scheduled for Sunday. Uncertainty around the election has grown over the past month after far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon's surprising surge in the polls.

According to French pollster Ifop, Melenchon was just five percentage points behind the front-runner, centrist Emmanuel Macron as of Wednesday.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note were lower, lifting yields to 2.24% from Wednesday's 2.21%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slipped 17 cents at $50.26 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices dropped 40 cents at $1,283.00 U.S. an ounce.


Source: Livemoney US Market Commentary (April 20, 2017 - 4:37 PM EDT)

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