U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in afternoon trading Friday, erasing modest losses from the day before and placing the major indexes on course for new highs. Technology companies, banks and health care stocks were among the biggest gainers. Investors were encouraged by signs that the Republican-backed tax overhaul bill was making progress in Congress. They also weighed the latest batch of company earnings news.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 23 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,675 as of 1:03 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 149 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,657. The Nasdaq added 73 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,929. Small-company stocks, which stand to benefit most from lower corporate tax rates, rose more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 24 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,531.
THE QUOTE: “The tax bill seems to be the driver right now,” said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. “The market just thinks it will get done.”
TAXING TIME: Congressional Republicans finalized their sweeping tax package Friday, expanding its child tax credit to placate a reluctant GOP senator as they pushed to muscle the bill through Congress next week. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been a potential holdout, though lawmakers have been working to appease him. Rubio wrote on Twitter earlier Friday that he was dissatisfied with the size of a tax credit that low-income families can claim for their children.
TECH RALLY: Technology stocks were notching solid gains. Western Union rose 48 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $19.66.
BANKING ON FINANCIALS: Banks and other financial companies were among the biggest gainers. Navient added 57 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $13.19.
BIG-BOX BEAT: Costco Wholesale rose 3.6 percent after the warehouse club operator’s latest quarterly earnings and sales came in well above financial analysts’ expectations. The stock added $6.80 to $193.33.
SPARKED: Shares in Jabil gained 2.2 percent after the electronics manufacturer posted a bigger profit and better revenue than analysts had anticipated. The stock picked up 61 cents to $28.06.
BUY BUY BUY: Discovery Communications was up 5.6 percent after John Malone, one of the company’s directors, disclosed that he had bought more stock in the cable channel operator. The stock added $1.12 to $21.16.
CLOUDY SKIES: Oracle fell 4.4 percent after the second-quarter performance of the business software company’s cloud-computing business and its forecast for its current quarter disappointed traders. The stock slid $2.21 to $47.98.
OFF THE RAILS: CSX slumped 7.4 percent after the railroad operator said CEO Hunter Harrison is on leave “due to unexpected complications from a recent illness.” The stock shed $4.24 to $53.07.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.37 percent from 2.35 percent late Thursday.
ENERGY: Oil futures were mixed. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 17 cents to $57.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 6 cents to $63.25 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.66 yen from 112.18 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1775 from $1.1792.
THE BITCOIN TRADE: Bitcoin futures surged on their fifth day of trading, climbing $1,220, or 7.3 percent, to $18,020 on the Cboe Futures Exchange. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin. The average price of an actual bitcoin was $17,590 in trading on private exchanges, according to Coindesk. The price of the digital currency has soared this year, having begun 2017 under $1,000.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed. Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 shed 0.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent after European Union leaders said they would allow the Brexit talks to move on to the next stage, including trade. Earlier in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index dipped 0.6, while South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.1 percent.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.