Wall St gains, progress in Trump's tax plan lifts hopes

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is pictured in New York City© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is pictured in New York City

By Caroline Valetkevitch

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Friday after the Senate passed a budget resolution, lifting hopes that President Donald Trump’s tax-cut plan may move forward.

The Senate’s approval late Thursday of a 2018 budget blueprint could pave the way for Republicans to pursue a tax-cut package without Democratic support.

The S&P 500 and the Dow, which climbed above 23,000 this week, were on track to post gains for a sixth straight week and the Nasdaq for a fourth straight week.

Some investors saw little reason to worry about the extended climb.

“This has been a healthy advance. It has been a slow, steady grind upward. There’s been extraordinarily low volatility,” said Hank Smith, co-chief investment officer at Haverford Trust in Radnor, Pennsylvania.

Consumer confidence remains elevated and regulatory relief has helped, he noted.

Financial stocks () – expected to benefit from the administration’s proposed policies – rose 1.1 percent and were the best performer of the 11 major S&P sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average () rose 129.65 points, or 0.56 percent, to 23,292.69, the S&P 500 () gained 11.28 points, or 0.44 percent, to 2,573.38 and the Nasdaq Composite () added 26.54 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,631.61.

Third-quarter earnings season is under way and 183 S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings next week. So far, more than 70 percent of the 88 S&P 500 companies have beaten profit expectations.

Shares of General Electric (N:) reversed an early drop and were last up 0.1 percent, although the company’s results badly missed Wall Street’s expectations.

PayPal’s stock (O:) rose 4.9 percent after upbeat earnings.

Celgene (O:) slumped more than 10 percent after the company abandoned testing a drug to treat Crohn’s disease.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.37-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.52-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

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