MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stocks Mostly Lower As Investors Assess Republican Tax Plan

By Sue Chang and Anora M. Gaudiano, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Apple earnings are due after the market closes

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U.S. stocks were mostly lower as the much-anticipated tax plan Thursday by House Republicans failed to impress investors.

House Republicans introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that is aimed at cutting corporate taxes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-a-breakdown-of-how-the-new-house-tax-bill-impacts-business-taxes-2017-11-02)and repealing taxes paid by large estates. However, it is unclear when and if the bill will pass.

Read:Here's a breakdown of how the new House tax bill impacts your taxes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-a-breakdown-of-how-the-new-house-tax-bill-impacts-your-taxes-2017-11-02)

What are stock indexes doing?

The S&P 500 was off by a point to 2,577. Consumer discretionary sector was among the hardest hit, with losses led by home builder stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/homebuilder-stocks-tumble-as-tax-plan-takes-bite-out-of-mortgage-deduction-2017-11-02) that plunged 2% on the proposal to cut mortgage interest deductions in half.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average reversed an earlier drop to rise 27 points, or 0.1%, to 23,462. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 9 points, or 0.1%, to 6,706.

What's driving the markets?

Hopes for the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have been credited for some market gains over the past year. However, Thursday's tax bill details sent stocks, bonds yields and the dollar lower as traders weighed its chances of passage.

Also in focus is the next Fed chair. President Donald Trump is expected to announce his pick later Thursday, with Fed Gov. Jerome Powell seen as the likely choice. The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House has already notified Powell (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/white-house-has-informed-powell-he-will-be-next-fed-chief-report-2017-11-01) that Trump intends to nominate him.

Read:What a Jerome Powell-led Fed might look like (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imagining-life-under-a-jerome-powell-fed-2017-10-20)

A number of high-profile earnings reports are in the pipeline, including tech giant Apple and coffee-chain Starbucks.

Across the pond, the Bank of England (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/boe-delivers-a-typical-dovish-hike-analysts-react-to-historic-uk-rate-rise-2017-11-02)raised its key interest rate by a quarter-percentage point to 0.5%, meeting widely held expectations for the first rate increase to be enacted since July 2007.

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-things-investors-need-to-know-as-the-bank-of-england-prepares-for-historic-rate-hike-2017-10-31)What are analysts saying?

"Unveiling of the tax bill is a step one. Approving and passing the legislation is step two and it's not at all clear in what form or shape this bill will be passed," said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior analyst and portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group.

"Any tax reform will change the behavior of people, but at this stage we don't know how this behavior will change: will people prefer renting to home ownership? I think selling of home builders at this stage seems like a big overreaction," Forrest said.

What economic data are in focus?

Initial U.S. jobless claims (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/layoffs-in-us-back-to-nearly-45-year-low-jobless-claims-show-2017-11-02) fell by 5,000 to 229,000 in the week ended Oct. 28. That was lower than the 235,000 estimate of economists polled by MarketWatch.

Meanwhile, the productivity of American firms and workers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hard-at-work-us-productivity-hits-three-year-high-2017-11-02)rose 3% in the third quarter.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Tesla Inc. (TSLA) slumped 7% after the electric car maker late Wednesday reported a wider-than-expected loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-announces-worst-quarter-ever-model-3-delays-2017-11-01).

Facebook Inc.(FB) fell 2.3% even after earnings out late Wednesday beat forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-stock-up-after-earnings-and-revenue-beat-2017-11-01). Lawmakers on Wednesday warned Facebook, Alphabet Inc.'s Google(GOOGL)(GOOGL) and Twitter Inc.(TWTR) that they are considering tougher regulations on social-media sites (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lawmakers-warn-social-media-execs-to-fix-problems-or-face-new-regulations-2017-11-01)over concerns of foreign intervention via their platforms.

L Brands, Inc. (LB) shares soared 10% after October sales growth. Ralph Lauren Corp.(RL) stock rose 2.4% after better-than-expected earnings and revenue.

DowDuPont Inc.'s (DWDP) stock was 2% lower even as the company exceeded profit and sales expectations.

Yum Brands Inc.(YUM) shares rose 6.3% after beating earnings estimates.

After the market closes, Apple and Starbucks Corp.(SBUX) are slated to report.

Read:Apple earnings: iPhone X supply is the question, but the answer may not matter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-earnings-iphone-x-supply-is-the-question-but-the-answer-may-not-matter-2017-10-30)

What are other markets doing?

The pound plunged to $1.306 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pound-strengthens-ahead-of-historic-boe-decision-2017-11-02) after the rate decision, compared with $1.3246 late Wednesday in New York.

Read:Here's how a Bank of England rate increase could 'kill' the British pound (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-a-bank-of-england-rate-hike-could-kill-the-british-pound-2017-11-01)

The dollar fell against most other currencies, with the ICE Dollar Index off 0.1% and on track to break a two-day winning run.

European markets turned lower, while Asian markets closed mixed. Oil futures and gold prices were both flat.

--Sara Sjolin contributed to this report.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 02, 2017 12:43 ET (16:43 GMT)