Rudd’s MarketView Monday, December 4, 2017

Summary

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high on Monday, with banks and retailers leading the parade and technology companies falling as investors realigned their portfolios in hopes of benefiting from expected corporate tax cuts.

The S&P 500 ended with a loss after hitting an intra-day all-time high earlier in the day, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.05 percent.

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup all rose over 2 percent after the Republican-dominated Senate approved its tax bill on Saturday.

Once the Senate and House of Representatives reconcile their respective versions of the legislation, the resulting bill could reduce corporate tax rates to 20 percent from 35 percent.

Meanwhile, investors freed up money to buy banks, department stores and other stocks seen benefiting from lower taxes by selling technology stocks, which have become relatively expensive after leading the market’s gains this year. Many department stores pay high tax rates and stand to benefit from the Republican cuts. Macy’s rose 6.65 percent and Nordstrom chalked up a gain of 3.87 percent.

Aiding financial stocks was a broad expectation that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in December, which makes bank lending more profitable.

The S&P 500 information technology index is up 34 percent in 2017, making it the market’s best performer. But after it fell 3 percent since Nov. 28, suddenly there is concern as to the longevity of the sector’s rally. As a result, Microsoft lost 3.77 percent, Nvidia fell 5.57 percent and PayPal Holdings was down 5.75 percent.

The S&P 500 is up 18 percent in 2017 on strong corporate earnings and solid economic growth, as well as expectations that President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress would cut taxes and corporate regulation. The index is now trading at about 18.2 times expected earnings, its highest level since 2002, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

Media stocks rose after the Financial Times reported that Twenty-first Century Fox had resumed talks to potentially sell most of its assets to Walt Disney. Disney closed up 4.72 percent and Fox ended the trading day up 2.80 percent.

CVS Health lost 4.57 percent after the company agreed to buy Aetna for $69 billion in the year’s largest corporate acquisition. Aetna fell 1.44 percent.

Approximately 7.8 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, a number that was well above the 6.7 billion share daily average over the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.