US stocks post gains amid thin holiday trade

US stocks post gains amid thin holiday trade

New York: US stocks traded slightly higher as trading remains thin in a holiday-shortened week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday increased 32.16 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 24,806.46. The S&P 500 rose 1.70 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 2,684.32, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 8.64 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 6,947.98.

On the economic front, In the week ending December 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 245,000, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised level of 245,000, said the US Labor Department on Thursday.

The 4-week moving average was 237,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 236,000.

Trump finally signed a $1.5-trillion tax cut bill into law last week. He called it “a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs,” adding that “corporations are literally going wild.”

The tax bill, the sweeping rewriting of US tax law since 1986, would cut corporate income tax rate to 21 per cent from the current 35 per cent and lower individual income rates.

Earnings expectations for next year look decent, but they could be great with tax reform, according to 2018 Market Outlook released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The tax reform could initially add as much as $19, or 14 per cent to S&P 500 earnings per share, including a potential three-dollar benefit from repatriation-induced buy backs, said the bank.