By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks hovered near record levels on Wednesday ahead of a highly anticipated tax plan, while a flood of quarterly earnings reports kept investors busy.President Donald Trump is proposing to slash the corporate tax rate and offer multinational businesses a steep tax break on overseas profits brought into the United States, officials said late on Tuesday.U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that the plan would cut the business tax rate to 15 percent and that there was fundamental agreement with Congress on tax reform goals. The administration is expected to release details of the plan later on Wednesday, he said.The promise of a massive tax cut has been at the core of the post-election rally, which has driven Wall Street's indexes to record highs. However, the rally has stalled of late due to a lack of clarity on Trump's policies and the failure of his healthcare reform bill. "We think the market is pricing in fairly significant tax relief and that means there is real potential for the tax bill to disappoint," said Matthew Peterson, Chief Wealth Strategist at LPL Financial. "Certainly, the market has room to run, provided that the tax plan is credible and likely passed through Congress."
At 10:54 a.m. ET (1454 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 39.58 points, or 0.19 percent, at 21,035.7. The S&P 500 was up 5.35 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,393.96 - just seven points away from its record high. The Nasdaq Composite was up 3.79 points, or 0.06 percent, at 6,029.28, easing from an all-time high of 6,037.21.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.8 percent gain in energy as oil prices rose. Boeing's shares fell 1.5 percent and weighed the most on the Dow after the planemaker reported a decline in revenue.Procter & Gamble's 2 percent decline was also a drag on the index, after the company's quarterly profit fell.
Seagate tumbled nearly 17 percent, dragging down shares of rival Western Digital, after issuing disappointing revenue forecast for the current quarter. Among gainers, Edwards Lifesciences surged 14 percent after it reported strong quarterly revenue and raised its full-year earnings forecast. The stock was the top percentage gainer on the S&P 500.Twitter jumped more than 11 percent after reporting a strong rise in monthly active users and a quarterly profit that blew past expectations. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,847 to 923. On the Nasdaq, 1,595 issues rose and 1,021 fell.The S&P 500 index showed 61 52-week highs and two lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 117 highs and 10 lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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Updated Date: Apr 26, 2017 22:03 PM