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U.S. stocks post weekly gains amid tax bill, data

Time:2017-12-25 14:23:40 Source: Xinhua China Youth International

  U.S. stocks wavered and posted gains for the week, as investors mainly focused on tax legislation progress and newly-released economic data.

  U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a 1.5-trillion-dollar tax cut bill into law, as well as a spending bill to keep the federal government running through Jan. 19, 2018.

  The U.S. Congress this week passed the tax bill along party line, with no Democrats voting for it.

  At the signing ceremony, Trump called it "a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs," adding that "corporations are literally going wild."

  "By cutting taxes and reforming the broken system, we are now pouring rocket fuel into the engine of our economy," Trump said Wednesday in a statement after the final congressional passage of the tax legislation.

  The tax bill, the sweeping rewrite of U.S. tax law since 1986, would cut the corporate income tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent and lower individual income rates.

  Some companies said they would spend the savings from lower corporate taxes on higher wages and new construction.

  "The tax cuts should help, especially if companies follow AT&T and Comcast's lead paying tax-cut related employee bonuses, and investing in U.S. networks. Or Wells Fargo and Fifth Third's example by raising employee minimum wages," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

  Investors were optimistic about this, as they bet that lower taxes would boost companies' earnings.

  "All this as optimism piles upon optimism. Like the proposed tax plan or not, there is no denying that what appears before us is incredibly friendly toward business, and that changing environment is not lost on the investing public," said Stephen Guilfoyle, president of Sarge986 LLC.

  On the economic front, U.S. personal income in November increased 54 billion U.S. dollars, or 0.3 percent, lower than market consensus of 0.4 percent, according to the Commerce Department Friday.

  In November, disposable personal income increased 50.9 billion dollars, or 0.4 percent, and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 87.1 billion dollars, or 0.6 percent.

  U.S. new orders for manufactured durable goods in November increased 3.1 billion dollars or 1.3 percent to 241.2 billion dollars, missing market projection of a 2-percent gain, the Commerce Department announced in another report.

  U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to the "third" estimate released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

  "Third quarter GDP was close enough in this final revision for investors to move on to thinking about Q4 and 2018," said Low.

  U.S. existing-home sales surged for the third straight month in November and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years, according to the National Association of Realtors Wednesday.

  U.S. total existing-home sales jumped 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.81 million in November from an upwardly revised 5.50 million in October.

  U.S. privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million units, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

  This is 3.3 percent above the revised October estimate of 1.256 million and 12.9 percent above the November 2016 rate of 1.149 million.

  In corporate news, shares of Apple fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday, after Nomura Instinet downgraded the tech giant's stock from buy to neutral.

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