Midday Update: Stocks Rally as Congress Poised to Pass Tax Reform

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Wall Street's meteoric rise continued on Monday as the expectation for Congress to pass pro-growth tax legislation drove the major market averages to record highs and the Nasdaq over the 7,000 milestone.

Investors poured into sectors poised to capitalize on tax reform such as bank stocks and high-tax corporations like Dow components Walmart ( WMT ), Apple ( AAPL ) and Exxon Mobile ( XOM ), while homebuilder stocks outperformed on an 18-year high in a leading market index.

The National Association of Homebuilders housing market index rose to 74 in December, exceeding expectations of an index of 70, and following a downward revised 69 in November.

Deal making activity is also having a positive impact on shares with mergers between Campbell Soup ( CPB ) and Snyder's Lance ( LNCE ), along with Hershey's (HSY) $921 million bid for Amplify (BETR) underpinning the consumer sector. Additionally, Penn National Gaming (PENN) said it would buy Pinnacle Entertainment (PNK) in a cash and stock deal valued at $2.8 billion.

Buoyed by gains in the US, European bourses are all significantly higher as well with the banking sector taking the lead. Germany's DAX is higher by 1.59%, followed by a 1.33% gain in France's CAC-40, and 1.08% gain in the Euro-Stoxx index.

Crude oil was up $0.06 to $57.36 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.15 to $2.76 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $8.10 to $1.265.70 an ounce, while silver was up $0.12 to $16.18 an ounce. Copper was up $0.002 to $3.14 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.04% to $11.47 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 4.98% to $5.48. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.48% to $22.34 while SPDR Gold Shares up 0.57% to $119.86. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.53% to $15.23.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:


NYSE Composite Index was up 110.51 points (+0.87%) to 12,810.19

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 187.17 points (+0.76%) to 24,838.91

S&P 500 was up 18.29 points (+0.68%) to 2,694.11

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 66.02 points (+0.95%) to 7,002.88


FTSE 100 was up 46.44 points (+0.62%) to 7,537.01

DAX was up 208.74 points (+1.59%) to 13,312.30

CAC 40 was up 71.28 points (+1.33%) to 5,420.58

Nikkei 225 was up 348.55 points (+1.55%) to 22,901.77

Hang Seng Index was up 202.30 points (+0.70%) to 29,050.41

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 2.19 points (+0.07%) to 3,268.33


NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 133.50 points (+1.22%) to 11,077.33

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 80.46 points (+0.98%) to 8,276.31

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 87.24 points (+0.61%) to 14,420.98


(+) OTIV (+103.40%) Developed capabilities to implement bitcoin in payment solutions

(+) BETR (+71.14%) To be acquired by Hershey (HSY) for $12 per share

(+) VIPS (+42.00%) JD.com (JD) and Tencent made $863 million investment

(+) RXII (+5.7%) Announced positive results from phase 2 trial of RXI-109


(-) OHAI (-16.44%) Denies report that it is involved in a blockchain loan platform

(-) PETX (-6.40%) AT-016 fails to meet efficacy criteria

(-) SCG (-3.74%) Under investigation for failure to reveal material info about failed VC Summer nuclear project

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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