Stock Market News For Dec 21, 2017

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Benchmarks ended in negative territory on Wednesday as investors remained indifferent even as Congress passed the much-awaited Republican tax Bill. During the day, all the three key U.S. indexes reached record high levels initially, but finished lower following a pullback. Markets have already traded higher in the last few sessions on optimism over the passage of the tax cut Bill and witnessed a sell-off after both the Houses actually passed the Bill on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) decreased 0.1%, to close at 24,726.65. The S&P 500 Index (INX) fell 0.1% to close at 2,679.25. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,960.96, losing 2.39 points. A total of 6.17 billion shares were traded on Wednesday, lower than the last 20-session average of 6.84 billion shares. However, advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.01-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.01-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues. The CBOE VIX decreased 4.4% to close at 9.59.

Congress Finally Pass Republican Tax Bill

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the Republican tax overhaul Bill. Although, the House passed the tax Bill, it violated Senate rules during this process. The three provisions which were included in the Bill did not fulfill the Byrd Rule. These include criteria used to determine whether private university grants are subject to excise taxes, allowing families to utilize 529 plans to bear home-schooling costs and the name of the Bill itself.

The Senate Republicans passed the tax overhaul Bill early Wednesday, excluding the provisions. The Senate voted 51-48 in favor of the Bill, with majority of the Republicans present in the Senate supporting the new tax code. The Bill permanently slashes corporate tax rates from 35% to 21%. Further, companies will be allowed to pay a 5% tax on reinvested earnings and 10% tax on deferred cash earnings. After the Senate passed the tax Bill, the House of Representatives re-voted 224-201 in favor of the Bill, complying with the Senate rules.

Optimism regarding lower corporate tax rates has already boosted sentiment for the last few sessions. However, markets witnessed a slight pullback on Wednesday as investors had already priced in the impact of the legislation, which in turn weighed on all the three key U.S. indexes.

In the of S&P 500, out of its 10 key sectors, seven of them declined yesterday with both real estate and utilities sectors being key decliners. The Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) fell 1.1%, becoming the worst performer among the S&P 500 sector. Some of its key holdings including Simon Property Group, Inc. SPG and Public Storage PSA decreased 2.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

Additionally, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) fell 0.8%, becoming the second biggest declining sector among the S&P 500. Some of its key components including Exelon Corporation EXC and Xcel Energy Inc. XEL decreased 1.5% and 1.7%, respectively. While, Exelon has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), Xcel Energy possess a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

FedEx Boosts Dow Transports

Meanwhile, key transportation index, Dow Jones Transportation Average rose 0.9% on Wednesday following gain in shares of FedEx Corporation FDX . FedEx's shares increased 3.5% on the back of strong fiscal second quarter earnings results. The company's earnings (excluding 33 cents from non-recurring items) of $3.18 per share comfortably surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.87.

Its quarterly revenues increased 9.3% year over year to $16,313 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $15,672.4 million.FedEx also gave a bullish outlook for fiscal 2018 owing to higher revenues and strong demand. (Read More: FedEx Beats on Q2 Earnings & Revenues, Stock Gains )

Stocks That Made Headlines

BlackBerry Up on Q3 Earnings & Sales Beat, View Intact

Shares of BlackBerry LimitedBB have gained following the release of third-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended Nov 30, 2017) earnings report. ( Read More )

Bed Bath & Beyond Declines Despite Q3 Earnings Beat

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. BBBY delivered better-than-expected results in third-quarter fiscal 2017 as both earnings and sales topped estimates. ( Read More )

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Exelon Corporation (EXC): Free Stock Analysis Report

Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL): Free Stock Analysis Report

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY): Free Stock Analysis Report

FedEx Corporation (FDX): Free Stock Analysis Report

Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG): Free Stock Analysis Report

Public Storage (PSA): Free Stock Analysis Report

BlackBerry Limited (BB): Free Stock Analysis Report

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

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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