Stock Market News for February 10, 2017

Benchmarks finished in positive territory on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said that he will make some big announcements regarding his tax plans in the coming weeks. Trump's latest announcements raised expectations of a low tax environment, which in turn had a positive impact on financial stocks. Additionally, energy shares gained yesterday following a decline in gasoline inventories and rising gasoline demand last week. All the three key indexes reached their highest levels together since Jan 25.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today's Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.6%, or 118.06 points, to close at 20,172.40. The S&P 500 also rose 0.6% to close at 2,307.87. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,715.18, gaining 0.6%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 5% to settle at 10.88. A total of around 6.9 billion shares were traded Thursday, higher than the last 20-session average of 6.7 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 63% stocks that advanced, 33% declined.

What Boosted The Benchmarks?

During a meeting with some major U.S. airline executives yesterday President Trump said his administration will be "lowering the overall tax burden on American business." Trump added that he will announce something that he "would say over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax." Later White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that the U.S. requires "fundamental comprehensive tax reform," which will address "both the business side of the tax ledger as well as the individual rates."

Renewed optimism over possible tax cuts in coming weeks led the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) to rise 1.4%, which was the best performing sector among the S&P 500. Key component from this sector like Morgan Stanley ( MS ), Bank of America Corporation ( BAC ) and Citigroup Inc. ( C ) increased 2.1%, 2% and 1.7%, respectively.

Moreover, for the week ending Feb 3 gasoline inventories slumped 0.9 million barrels in contrast to a rise of 2.9 million barrels as estimated by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Also, gasoline demand rose to 8.941 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, higher from the preceding week's figure of 8.310 million bpd. Decline in gasoline inventories and stronger gasoline demand led both WTI and Brent crude to increase 1.3% and 0.9% to $53.00 per barrel and $55.63 a barrel, respectively.

Rise in oil prices led the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) to advance 1.1%, which was second biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. Some of its holdings including Pioneer Natural Resources Company ( PXD ) and Halliburton Company ( HAL ) soared 5.5% and 2.2%, respectively. Both the companies possess a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

In economic news, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial claims declined by 12,000 to a level of 234,000 for the week ending Feb 4. Initial claims reached its second lowest level in nearly eighty years and remained lower than the consensus estimate of 248,000.

Further, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that US wholesale inventories advanced 1% in December in line with November's increase. Wholesale sales advanced 2.6% in the last month of 2016, registering its biggest jump since March 2011.

Stocks That Made Headlines

Skechers Q4 Earnings Miss, Stock Up on Solid Sales

Skechers USA Inc. ( SKX ) continued with its trend of dismal earnings performance reporting its third consecutive miss in fourth-quarter 2016. ( Read More )

j2 Global Q4 Earnings and Revenues Beat Estimates

j2 Global, Inc.'s ( JCOM ) fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings per beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13 cents. ( Read More )

Western Union Beats on Q4 Earnings, Hikes Dividend

The Western Union Company ( WU ) reported fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate. ( Read More )

News Corp Q2 Earnings Top; Soft Ad Market Hurt Sales

News Corporation ( NWSA ) reported profit in second-quarter fiscal 2017 after posting loss in the previous quarter. ( Read More )

TELUS' Earnings and Revenues Miss Estimates in Q4

TELUS Corp. ( TU ) reported disappointing financial results in the fourth quarter of 2016 wherein both the top line and bottom line fell short of the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. ( Read More )

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Morgan Stanley (MS): Free Stock Analysis Report

Bank of America Corporation (BAC): Free Stock Analysis Report

Citigroup Inc. (C): Free Stock Analysis Report

Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD): Free Stock Analysis Report

Halliburton Company (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

Skechers U.S.A., Inc. (SKX): Free Stock Analysis Report

j2 Global, Inc. (JCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Western Union Company (The) (WU): Free Stock Analysis Report

News Corporation (NWSA): Free Stock Analysis Report

TELUS Corporation (TU): 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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