Markets finished lower on Thursday after Senator Marco Rubio stated that he would vote against the Republican Tax Bill if child tax credit is not increased sufficiently. This led to uncertainty over the future of tax reforms in the United States, resulting in broad based losses for the markets. The Dow ended its five-day streak of gains to end in the red and the S&P 500 also declined after a crash in financial and healthcare stocks. Meanwhile, the ECB refrained from altering deposit and referencing rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) decreased 0.3%, to close at 24,508.66. The S&P 500 Index (INX) fell 0.4% to close at 2,652.01. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,856.53, losing 0.3%. A total of 6.67 billion shares were traded on Thursday, higher than the last 20-session average of 6.53 billion shares. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.89-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 2.25-to-1 ratio favored declining issues. The CBOE VIX decreased 0.9% to close at 10.1.
Tax Cuts Uncertainty Weighs on Broader Markets
According to the latest proposals, the Republican Tax Bill lowers the corporate tax rate to 21% instead of the earlier 20%. Further, the top individual rate would be capped at 37%. Moreover, the new corporate tax slab would be implemented from the next year instead of 2019.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch stated on Wednesday that they had 'a deal'. However, Senator Marco Rubio objected to certain aspects of the draft on Thursday. He commented that he would vote against the Bill if it does not incorporate a larger expansion of the child tax credit.
Senators Mike Lee and Rubio have insisted that a change be made to the child tax credit facet of the Tax Bill which would enable majority of low-income families across the United States to benefit. Such uncertainties over the Bill's future dampened investor sentiment.
How Did the Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow lost 76.8 points to end in the red on Thursday, ending its five-day streak of gains. The blue-chip index suffered broad-based losses.
The S&P 500 also ended in the red after declining 10.8 points. Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, 10 ended in negative territory. The decline in the S&P 500 came after materials, healthcare and financials shares tanked. The Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB), Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) and Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) all declined 1.7%, 1% and 0.7%, respectively. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq slumped 19.3% to finish in negative territory. Further, the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) declined 17.8 points to 1,506.68, posting its largest single-day drop in a month's time.
ECB Makes No Change to its Monetary Policy
The European Central Bank decided to leave its deposit rate unchanged at -0.4% on Thursday. Moreover, the main referencing rate also remained unaltered at 0%. In a statement, the ECB said that the interest rate would "remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases."
Further, the ECB confirmed that it would slash its quantitative easing program to €30 billion in January 2018, which would continue till September. However, the central bank stated that if the inflation outlook appeared less encouraging, it would have to increase the 'size and duration' of its quantitative easing program.
On the economic data front, retail sales for the month of November came in at 0.8%, more than 0.5% in October. The consensus estimate for the period was 0.3%. Economists commented that such a surge can be attributed to the fact that a greater number of consumers are switching to online shopping which led to a 2.5% increase in internet sales. Meanwhile, retail sales excluding the sale of automobiles came in at 1%, higher than in October. The consensus estimate for the period was 0.7%
Further, initial claims for the last week declined to 225,000 claims, compared to the consensus estimate of an increase to 237,000.
Stocks That Made Headlines
Amid a tough retail landscape Costco Wholesale Corporation COST commenced fiscal 2018 on an upbeat note backed by growth strategies, sturdy e-commerce sales and increased penetration of Citi Visa co-brand card program. ( Read More )
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