Nasdaq Sets Record, Trump Sends Mixed Signals on NAFTA

Nasdaq Sets Record, Trump Sends Mixed Signals on NAFTA

The Nasdaq Composite ended at another record high today, boosted by results-related gains in Comcast, PayPal and Intuit, while the S&P 500 and the Dow were little changed from yesterday's gains.

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The tech-heavy index is likely to extend its record-breaking string of gains as heavyweights Amazon and Alphabet jumped more than 4 percent each after the bell, following stellar earnings. Comcast rose 2.1 percent to $39.59 after touching a record high of $40.62 as strong subscriber growth brought a forecast-beating profit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 6.24 points, or 0.03 percent, to 20,981.33, the S&P 500 gained 1.32 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,388.77 and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.71 points, or 0.39 percent, to 6,048.94.

Earnings were back in the spotlight, a day after the Trump administration unveiled its tax reform priorities without details on how the reform would be paid for, raising questions on whether deficit hawks in Congress would support it.  Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 12.4 percent in the first quarter, the most since 2011.

US businesses would mostly benefit if President Donald Trump's plan to cut corporate tax rates and slash taxes on cash parked overseas becomes law. But the economic benefits and the timing of a possible bill remain in question.

In after-hours trading, Amazon added 4.1 percent to $955.92 while Google's parent Alphabet jumped 4.5 percent to $931.91 as both continue to race to $1,000. Alphabet jumped as Google's ad revenue rose 18.8 percent to $21.41 billion in the first quarter, while Amazon reported revenue and profit that topped analysts' estimates.

In regular market hours, Intuit rose 8.5 percent to $125.61 after it reported consumer tax-season results and reiterated its quarter and full-year forecast. PayPal shares hit a record high a day after it raised its earnings outlook and reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit. Sportswear maker Under Armour shares jumped 9.9 percent to $21.67 after it posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Politics remained in focus this week as the Trump administration unveiled a hastily assembled plan to cut taxes on Wednesday and gave mixed signals on its intentions for the North American trade agreement. The machinations left markets unsure of the policy direction, with lots of discussion and few concrete actions on which to trade. Congress is also considering a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown, while House Republicans attempt to revive legislation to repeal Obamacare.

The Mexican peso pared gains and Canada’s dollar was little changed based on those mixed signals from the White House on the NAFTA regional trade agreement. The euro weakened after the European Central Bank signaled its commitment to stimulus even as the region’s economy firms. Gold was little changed and emerging-market assets slipped.

 

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