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Wall St higher over potential tax-cut benefits; Accenture hits record high

AT&T, Wells Fargo and Boeing, have promised higher pay for workers or more investment in training


Wall Street higher as investors await tax-cut benefits

Wall Street's main indexes rose on Thursday as investors expected lower rates to encourage companies to spend their additional capital on dividends, new projects and wage hikes.

The U. S. Congress approved a $1.5-trillion tax cut bill this week, with the highlight being a cut to 21 per cent from 35 per cent.

A number of companies, including AT&T, and Boeing, have promised higher pay for workers or more investment in training. Some others have forecast a rise in earnings due to tax cuts.

"The impact is still a work-in-progress, tax cuts are believed to add to earnings. But the unknowns are to what extent the company behavior changes in terms of capex policy, buybacks and wage increases," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U. S.

Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

At 10:51 a.m. ET (1551 GMT), the was up 104.5 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 24,831.15 and the S&P 500 was up 8.22 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 2,687.47. The Nasdaq Composite was up 8.00 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 6,968.96.

Financial stocks led the gains on the S&P 500.

JPMorgan rose 1.6 per cent, about 2 per cent and Goldman Sachs 2.6 per cent. The bank stocks were the biggest drivers on the S&P and the Dow.

The gains also came after latest gross domestic product data showed the U. S. economy grew at its fastest pace in more than two years in the third quarter.

Another economic indicator showed a jump in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week, but the underlying trend in jobless claims remained consistent with a tightening labor market.

"You've got an improving economy that bodes well for loan growth along with a rising interest rate environment, and a modest regulatory relief, which makes financial stocks favorable," said Sandven.

Accenture shares rose 4.4 per cent to hit a record high at $158.40 after the consulting and outsourcing services provider reported strong quarterly profit, driven by digital and cloud services business.

Shares of Bed Bath and Beyond fell about 13 per cent after the company said comparable sales fell 0.3 per cent in the third quarter.

Chevron shares jumped more than 3 per cent to a record high of $124.60 after broker Cowen & Co raised price target by nearly a third to $160 on expectations of higher cash flow and improving Permian metrics.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,837 to 937. On the Nasdaq, 1,724 issues rose and 982 fell.

First Published: Thu, December 21 2017. 22:50 IST