MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow On Its Way To Longest Streak Of Monthly Gains In 22 Years As It Surges Above 24,000

By Sue Chang, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Barnes & Noble tumbles after results

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U.S. stocks rallied Thursday, with major equity indexes hitting records as investors grew more optimistic about the prospects for a tax overhaul out of Washington.

The Dow broke above 24,000 for the first time in history (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-industrials-trade-above-24000-for-first-time-2017-11-30) and was poised for its longest streak of monthly gains in more than 20 years. Meanwhile, major tech stocks, which took a battering in the prior session, recuperated to push the Nasdaq higher.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 280 points, or 1.2%, to 24,220, and was on track for its fifth straight daily rise.

Read:Dow tops 24,000 for first time as investors learn to love the bull market (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-industrials-trade-above-24000-for-first-time-2017-11-30)

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The S&P 500 index rose 17 points, or 0.7%, to 2,643 and poised for a record finish.

The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 36 points, or 0.5%, to 6,860. The tech-heavy index, pressured after its worst session in three months (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-industrials-poised-to-climb-closer-to-24000-milestone-2017-11-29) on Wednesday, was about 0.5% below its own record.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks fizzled after touching a record in early trading (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/russell-2000-hits-record-on-tax-reform-optimism-2017-11-30) to trade near the flatline.

The day's gains were broad, with 10 of the S&P 500's 11 primary sectors in positive territory for the day. Energy shares were among the biggest gainers, up 1.5%.

Read: As stocks rally, Carl Icahn cautions against 'euphoric state' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/as-stock-market-rallies-carl-icahn-cautions-against-euphoric-state-2017-11-30)

What are the moves for the month?

For November so far, the Dow industrials are looking at a gain of around 3.6%. That would be the eighth-straight monthly win, the longest such streak since July 1995.

The S&P 500 is eyeing a monthly rise of roughly 2.7%. It also looks set to nail an eight-month winning streak, the longest such run since January 2007.

The Nasdaq is poised for a 2% advance. That would be its fifth month of rises in a row and the longest such winning streak since May 2017.

The year itself has been a blockbuster for stocks, with the three major indexes gaining between 18% and 27% for the year, driven by economic expansion, upbeat corporate profits, lack of competition from other assets and hopes that the Trump administration and Congress will deliver on tax cuts.

Read: Goldman says highest valuations since 1900 leave investors in for a world of hurt (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/goldman-says-highest-valuations-since-1900-leave-investors-in-for-a-world-of-hurt-2017-11-29)

What could help drive the market?

Optimism was building ahead of a Senate vote on a Republican-backed tax bill, which could take place by Thursday evening. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to open a formal debate on the proposed tax changes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/senate-votes-to-open-debate-on-tax-bill-as-corporate-rate-still-up-in-the-air-2017-11-29).

In the latest economic data, jobless claims came in under forecasts in the latest week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jobless-claims-fall-slightly-in-thanksgiving-week-layoffs-remain-near-45-year-low-2017-11-30), while layoffs remain near 45-year lows. Separately, consumer spending rose 0.3% in October (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/consumers-keep-on-spending-in-october-aided-by-rising-incomes-and-low-inflation-2017-11-30), slightly above the 0.2% forecast.

Don't miss:Automation could impact 375 million jobs by 2030, new study suggests (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/automation-could-impact-375-million-jobs-by-2030-new-study-suggests-2017-11-29)

What are strategists saying?

"What had lifted the market in the first part of the year was an ever-improving economy and profitability. It wasn't about the prospect for tax reform. What you're seeing now, however, is the next leg where tax reform starts to get baked in. If you bake in what tax reform means, the market doesn't look pricey," said Alicia Levine, investment strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management.

"There are still a lot of details we don't know, but if the corporate tax rate is moved down near 20%, you'd be adding $10 per share to S&P 500 earnings. If you do that, valuations are not out of whack with what growth rates will be."

Which stocks look like key movers?

The so-called FAANG stocks, hard hit on Wednesday, showed signs of a rebound. Facebook (FB) rose 0.3% and Amazon.com (AMZN) climbed 0.9% while Apple (AAPL) gained 2.1%.

Shares of Juniper Networks Inc.(JNPR) fell 6.3% after Nokia Corp.(NOK) (NOK) denied it was interested in acquiring the networking company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nokia-denies-juniper-acquisition-interest-2017-11-29).

Barnes & Noble Inc.(BKS) tumbled 12% after the company reported a second-quarter loss that was wider than expected (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/barnes-nobles-stock-plunges-after-losses-widen-more-than-expected-2017-11-30).

Kroger Co.(KR) jumped 6.4% after third-quarter earnings came in ahead of analyst expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/kroger-shares-jump-5-on-better-than-expected-earnings-2017-11-30).

L Brands Inc.(LB), the parent company of Victoria's Secret, rallied 6.7% after reporting November same-store sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/victorias-secret-parent-l-brands-shares-slide-2-premarket-after-nov-same-store-sales-fall-1-2017-11-30).

What are other assets doing?

European stocks drifted lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-climb-for-3rd-day-as-credit-suisse-propels-bank-rally-2017-11-30) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-climb-for-3rd-day-as-credit-suisse-propels-bank-rally-2017-11-30), while (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-climb-for-3rd-day-as-credit-suisse-propels-bank-rally-2017-11-30)Asian markets had a largely weaker day, as a U.S. tech selloff hit related shares in Asia hard (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chip-stock-malaise-spreads-to-asia-dragging-down-markets-2017-11-29).

Oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-inch-higher-with-opec-meeting-in-focus-2017-11-30) were flat, falling prey to profit taking after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member producers agreed to extend their oil production-cut agreement (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/opec-officially-announces-extension-of-output-cut-deal-to-end-of-2018-2017-11-30) to the end of 2018.

Read: Russia riles OPEC plans for a longer oil production-cut extension (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/russia-riles-opec-plans-for-a-longer-production-cut-extension-2017-11-29)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/russia-riles-opec-plans-for-a-longer-production-cut-extension-2017-11-29)A key U.S. dollar index was trading lower with the index set for its worst monthly loss since July (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pound-rallies-on-brexit-hopes-as-dollar-looks-at-biggest-monthly-drop-since-july-2017-11-30). Meanwhile, the British pound continued to move higher amid rising optimism over Brexit negotiations.

Read:FTSE 100 slides to 2-month low as pound rallies on Brexit hopes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-slides-to-2-month-low-as-pound-rallies-on-brexit-hopes-2017-11-30)

Gold futures settled lower and bitcoin prices were down 5% to $9,668.20, after trading above $10,000 in Asia. A partial outage on digital currency exchanges such as Coinbase caused bitcoin prices to whipsaw on Wednesday, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/outage-on-bitcoin-exchange-hits-prices-2017-11-29) with the price of one bitcoin dropping $2,000 from above $11,000, then recovering to just under $10,000 by late afternoon.

Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 30, 2017 15:35 ET (20:35 GMT)