The Jerusalem Post

Wall Street jumps on optimism over tax cuts, flurry of M&A activity

- • By SRUTHI SHANKAR (Shailesh Andrade/Reuters)

Major US stock indexes hit record highs in a broad rally on Monday as the long-awaited bill to lower taxes looked set to be passed into law and a flurry of deal-making buoyed sentiment.

More US Republican­s Senators on Sunday said they expected Congress to pass the tax bill this week, with a Senate vote set for Tuesday and President Donald Trump expected to sign the bill into law by the end of the week.

US stocks have enjoyed a nearly yearlong rally that has of late been powered by increasing expectatio­ns of an imminent tax overhaul. The benchmark S&P 500 and the bluechip Dow Jones Industrial Average are set for their best year since 2013.

The bill proposes to cut corporate taxes to 21% from 35%, which investors are betting will boost profits as well as trigger share buybacks and higher dividend payouts.

“Interest rates are going up, with tax-cut stimulus expected, and the stocks that go up the most are the ones that benefit the most from tax cuts,” Arrow Funds director of research John Serrapere said. He expects retail and telecom companies to benefit the most.

In mid-morning trading, the Dow was up 172.88 points, or 0.7%, to 24,824.62, the S&P was up 16.37 points, or 0.61%, to 2,692.18, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 54.83 points, or 0.79%, to 6,991.41.

Besides the three indexes, the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 100 also hit record intraday highs.

The materials index gained 1.23%, the most among the major S&P sectors. The utilities index was the lone decliner, with a drop of 0.8%.

Another expected outcome of lower taxes is likely to be cash repatriati­on, which market analysts say could boost merger and acquisitio­n activity.

On Monday, investors were treated to a flood of deals.

Shares of Amplify Snack soared 70% to $11.94 after Hershey said it would buy the SkinnyPop popcorn maker in a $1.6 billion deal. Hershey rose 0.7%.

Synder’s-Lance was up about 7% after Campbell Soup said it would buy the Pretzels and Cape Cod chips maker for $4.87b. Campbell shares rose 1.8%.

Casino operator Penn National Gaming said it would buy Pinnacle Entertainm­ent in a $2.8b. deal. Penn National dipped about 5%, while Pinnacle rose 0.3%.

Twitter jumped more than 8% to a one-year high after J.P. Morgan said it expects the company to post double-digit daily average user growth of 10% in 2018.

Advancing issues outnumbere­d decliners on the NYSE by 2,200 to 606. On the Nasdaq, 2,127 issues rose and 660 fell.

 ??  ?? TRADERS REACT as they watch the news on television at a stock brokerage in Mumbai yesterday.
TRADERS REACT as they watch the news on television at a stock brokerage in Mumbai yesterday.

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