U.S. Futures Jump on Senate Tax Bill -- 2nd Update

By Christopher Whittall Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks rose Monday as investors digested the implications of the Senate passing its version of tax reform over the weekend.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 220 points, or 0.9%, to 24451, and the S&P 500 added 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6%. The Stoxx Europe 600 climbed 1% with gains across sectors, while stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed.

Investors also moved out of havens such as Treasurys and gold, and they pushed the dollar higher.

The moves follow a volatile session Friday when U.S. stocks fell sharply on reports about former national-security adviser Mike Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his communications with Russia. But stocks rallied into Friday's close on signs lawmakers had the votes to pass their tax measure and markets looked set to continue that positive tone on Monday.

The Senate passed sweeping revisions to the U.S. tax code past midnight Saturday after Republicans overcame internal divisions to pave the way for $1.4 trillion in tax cuts that would lower the corporate rate from 35% to 20%. The House and Senate still need to reconcile competing versions of the tax plan, something GOP leaders hope to do by Christmas.

Ronald Temple, head of U.S. equity at Lazard Asset Management, estimated that around 50% to 70% of the impact of the tax plan had been baked into markets before the passage of the Senate's bill.

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"Obviously, for corporates it's a windfall," Mr. Temple said. "It's unlikely to materially change the growth trajectory, but it is likely to materially change earnings growth," he said.

Other markets showed signs of reversing Friday's moves as investors grappled with the news about Mr. Flynn. Investors had piled into gold and U.S. Treasurys, and sold the dollar.

The WSJ Dollar Index was up 0.3% on Monday, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.393% from 2.363% on Friday. Yields move inversely to prices. Gold declined 0.5% to $1,276 an ounce on Monday after rising on Friday.

News that CVS Health Corp. has agreed to buy Aetna Inc. prompted Aetna shares to rise 3.6%, according to FactSet.

The Stoxx Europe 600's gains were broad-based on Monday, with the banking, auto and construction sectors all up by 1% or more.

With U.S. stock markets near record highs, some investors say they see greater value in other regions. Jeroen Blokland, a portfolio manager at Dutch asset manager Robeco, said that given economic momentum is already building, the Senate tax bill "is another sign for investors that this rally can continue for quite some time even though valuations are stretched."

Still, those high valuations in the U.S. have led him to favor European and Japanese stocks. "Japan is doing great and Europe has some catching up to do," he said.

Elsewhere in Europe, the British pound rose 0.2% against the dollar and 0.6% against the euro amid reports that Britain and the European Union are nearing an agreement that would allow Brexit negotiations to move forward.

Some Asia-Pacific stock markets struggled Monday after pockets of selling last week, notably in technology. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average closed down 0.5% as some tech stocks again came under pressure.

But other markets ended higher. After declines last week, benchmarks in Korea and Hong Kong rose 1.1% and 0.2% respectively.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil futures prices slid 0.8% to $63.22 a barrel

--

Kenan Machado

contributed to this article.

Write to Christopher Whittall at christopher.whittall@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 04, 2017 09:55 ET (14:55 GMT)