MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P Trade Near Records And Eye 4th Week Of Gains

By Sara Sjolin and Anora M. Gaudiano, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Oracle shares slide after disappointing numbers for its cloud business

U.S. stock-market indexes advanced on Friday, with the Dow and S&P 500 trading above previous closing records and on track to post weekly gains, as investors appeared to shake off the latest worries over progress for tax cuts.

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What are stock indexes are doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 130 points, or 0.5%, to 24,639, trading above its previous record close. The S&P 500 index gained 12 points, or 0.5%, to 2,664.57, also above closing high set earlier this week.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 21 points, or 0.3%, to 6,877.

All three main indexes were on track to end the week higher.

Small-cap stocks didn't fare as well this week, however. The Russell 2000 was up 4 points, or 0.3%, to 1,511 but on track to end the week with 0.7% loss.

What's driving the markets?

Some analysts said the economic environment remains good for stocks even though the Federal Reserve sees more rate increases next year than the market is pricing in. On Wednesday, the Fed raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point and the so-called dot-plot suggested three more rate increases next year.

Politics surrounding the tax bill continued to influence markets, as temporary weakness on Wall Street showed on Thursday, when investors turned cautious after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told Senate leaders he'll vote against the tax bill unless it includes a larger expansion of the child tax credit.

Several Republican senators have now expressed doubts about the tax overhaul that is expected to be put up for a final vote next week, according to The Wall Street Journa (https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-senate-republicans-reach-deal-on-final-tax-bill-1513185360)l.

Expectations for tax cuts and an overhaul in U.S. tax polices have helped boost stock markets this year and a failure to push through the bill could end the current rally, analysts say.

What are strategists saying?

"The news from Marco Rubio yesterday has cast a little more doubt over the tax reform bill and left Wall Street in a little bit of pain last night. However, yesterday really saw the end of the big data before the Christmas break, so I think with volume dropping and us approaching the weekend [the bounce today] is just a bit of a correction from the losses yesterday," said James Hughes, chief market analyst at AxiTrader, in emailed comments.

"There is still optimism that the tax deal will happen despite Rubio's comments so overall markets are just correcting and traders are positioning ahead of what will be a low volume week. However the lower volume often means the moves can be more erratic," he added.

What's new in economics?

The Empire State manufacturing index fell slightly (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/empire-state-index-slips-for-third-month-in-december-2017-12-15)in December, to a reading of 18 from 19.6 in November, the New York Fed said Friday. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions, though it is the third drop in a row.

Industrial production (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-industrial-production-posts-third-gain-in-a-row-in-november-as-factories-hum-2017-12-15)in the U.S. rose 0.2% in November to mark the third straight advance.

Which stocks are in focus?

Some of the last earnings reports of the year were also in focus, particularly figures from Oracle Corp.(ORCL), whose shares slumped 5.7%. The software company late Thursday delivered disappointing second-quarter growth numbers for its cloud business (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-shares-slide-as-cloud-growth-misses-street-view-2017-12-14).

Adobe Systems Inc.(ADBE) rose 0.4% after beating forecasts with its earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/adobe-shares-rise-after-fourth-quarter-earnings-beat-2017-12-14) out late Thursday.

Shares of Under Armour, Inc.(UAA) rose 7% after the sport apparel maker announced official partnership with Team Canada through 2024.

Costco Wholesale Corp.(COST) shares rallied 4.2% after the retailer in Thursday's after-hours session reported first-quarter earnings and sales above Wall Street forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/costco-shares-rise-after-retailers-q1-earnings-beat-2017-12-14).

Shares of CSX Corp.(CSX) dropped 7% after railroad disclosed chief executive Hunter Harrison is taking a medical leave.

What are other markets doing?

The dollar was largely flat, with the ICE U.S. Dollar index rose 0.3% to 93.757.

Crude oil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-fights-to-stay-positive-as-supply-concerns-niggle-2017-12-15) added 0.3% to $57.23 a barrel, while gold climbed 0.3% to $1,260 an ounce.

Bitcoin futures rallied 8% to $18,160, after falling for three straight sessions. Spot bitcoin prices were up 6.1% at $17,546.25, according to CoinDesk.

Asian markets closed mainly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-stocks-track-wall-street-declines-kospi-rebounds-2017-12-15), following the weaker close in the U.S. on Thursday. The negative sentiment also spilled over to Europe , where all major indexes traded in red.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 15, 2017 10:10 ET (15:10 GMT)