US equities to open higher over tax reform speculation

Wall Street indexes refreshed record highs on Friday over speculation that the new US administration will present a tax reform in the next two or three weeks.

President Donald Trump said that his plan to lower the tax burden on American business is moving smoothly and further details will be announced soon.

“We’re way ahead of schedule, I believe. And we’re going to be announcing something – I would say over the next two or three weeks – that will be phenomenal.”

Analysts said the use of the word “phenomenal” had a tremendous impact on market sentiment, as it renewed speculation over one of Trump’s main campaign promises: tax reduction for individuals and businesses.

The S&P 500 was pushed by energy, materials and industrials components.The Dow Jones industrial average added close to 100 points, with heavy machinery producer Caterpillar leading advancers in the session. The Nasdaq composite was 0.33 percent higher.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.48 percent / 20,269.37 points

  • Standard & Poor’s 500: +0.36 percent / 2,316.10 points

  • Nasdaq Composite: +0.33 percent / 5,734.13 points

Energy stocks were higher on Friday in reaction to a report from the International Energy Agency reporting that OPEC and non-OPEC output cuts in January accounted for 90 percent of the agreed volumes. The oil cartel and independent producers have agreed on cutting 1.8 million barrels per day until July 2017. Baker Hughes reported a build of 8 oil rigs operating in the United States, leaving the total count at 591 platforms.

In economic news, export price index for January came in at 0.1, in line with expectations, while import price index was better-than-expected at 0.4 percent. Michigan Consumer Expectations for February were at 85.7 points, falling short an expected 89.0 points. Consumer Sentiment also was below forecast at 95.7 points vs 97.9 points initially estimated.

Monday is set to be a light day for economic reports, shifting investors’ focus into corporate earnings and Washington’s new political steps. The OPEC and EIA are releasing monthly reports on production volumes later this afternoon.


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