MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P Rev Up For More Records After Senate Clears Hurdle To Tax Reform

By Barbara Kollmeyer and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock futures higher

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U.S. stock futures were indicating a stronger session on Wall Street on Friday, after the Senate narrowly passed a budget blueprint for the next fiscal year. The move is seen as paving the way for the tax reform many investors believe is vital to keeping the bull market alive.

What are stock-index futures doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 85 points, or 0.34%, to 23,199, while S&P 500 futures gained 5.25 points, or 0.2%, to 2,565.75. Nasdaq- futures gained 9.25 points, or 0.2%, to 6,107.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 and Dow industrials overcame a bumpy session (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-23000-on-the-line-as-ebay-apple-help-drive-us-stock-futures-lower-2017-10-19) to rebound toward the close, managing to log fresh records. The Dow went from a 100-point loss at one point during the session to finish up 5.49 points at 23,163.04, for its 52nd all-time closing high of the year. The S&P 500 closed up 0.84 point at 2,562.10, for its 48th record close of 2017.

Unable to shake off weakness, the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3% to 6,605.07.

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For the week, the three benchmarks were all set for weekly gains if they can hold the positive tone through Friday's session. As of Thursday's close, the S&P was up 0.4% for the week and the Dow average was 1.3% higher, while the Nasdaq was marginally lower.

What's driving markets?

Late Thursday, the Senate passed a budget blueprint for the next fiscal year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/senate-republicans-approve-budget-proposal-clearing-path-to-tax-overhaul-2017-10-19), seen as clearing a hurdle to the Trump administration's goal of overhauling the tax code. The rally for stock markets since the surprise election of President Donald Trump has been driven in part by hopes that a Republican-led Congress will introduce lower taxes, seen as stimulating growth.

Trump lauded the 51-49 vote on Twitter, saying it would be the "first step toward massive tax cuts for the American people."

(https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/921242760685998080)

Meanwhile, there was a development in another key issue for investors -- who will be the next person to chair the Federal Reserve. Politico reported Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-reportedly-leaning-toward-powell-for-fed-chairman-2017-10-19) that Trump is leaning toward Fed. Gov. Jerome Powell. The president met with current Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Thursday.

Yellen is on the Fed speaker list Friday, scheduled to talk about monetary policy since the financial crisis at the National Economics Association at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Ahead of that, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will appear on a panel discussion on regulation at Columbia University in New York at 2 p.m. Eastern.

The only data of note for Friday is a reading on existing home sales for September, due at 10 a.m. Eastern, with a reading of 5.3 million expected.

What are strategists saying?

"The move could allow Republicans to pass their proposed tax reform later this year or early next year, including a proposed $1.5 trillion tax cut. The next step is for the House of Representatives to take up the legislation, which could happen next week," said Marshall Gittler, chief strategist at ACLS Global.

"Action instead of gridlock and the possibility of tax cuts are likely to keep U.S. sentiment strong and U.S. stocks underpinned, which should allow the Fed to keep hiking rates," Gittler said in his note to clients Friday.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of General Electric Co.(GE), Procter & Gamble Co.(PG) and Schlumberger Ltd.(SLB) could be active, as those companies are due to report ahead of the opening bell.

PayPal Holdings Inc.(PYPL) jumped 3.9% ahead of Friday's opening bell after the online payment company late Thursday reported an earnings and revenue beat (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/paypal-shares-rise-on-third-quarter-revenue-beat-2017-10-19).

Skechers USA Inc.(SKX) soared 23% in thin premarket action after the footwear retailer's earnings out late Thursday beat analyst forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/skechers-shares-rally-after-earnings-sales-beat-2017-10-19).

Shares of Atlassian Inc.(TEAM) could get a bump, after soaring late Thursday. The Australian cloud-software company's results and outlook beat forecasts after the close.

Read:Atlassian heads toward $10 billion market cap with a story to tell (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/atlassian-heads-toward-10-billion-market-cap-with-a-story-to-tell-2017-10-19)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/atlassian-heads-toward-10-billion-market-cap-with-a-story-to-tell-2017-10-19)How are other assets trading?

In Asia markets closed mostly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asia-pacific-stocks-start-lower-edge-back-into-positive-territory-2017-10-19), with the Hong Kong Hang Seng ending 1.2% higher. European stocks rose slightly (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-nudge-higher-as-volvo-rallies-2017-10-20), helped by a jump for Volvo AB (VOLV-B.SK) .

Oil prices declined, with West Texas Intermediate crude down 1.2% at $50.70 a barrel. Gold futures dropped 0.7%, to $1,281.60 an ounce (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-drops-to-2-week-low-as-dollar-gains-strength-on-tax-reform-hopes-2017-10-20).

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index gained 0.3% to 93.549, with the greenback gaining (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-storms-higher-on-revived-hopes-for-tax-cuts-2017-10-20) on news of the budget proposal.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 20, 2017 06:17 ET (10:17 GMT)