Summary

The $1.5 trillion tax bill cleared both chambers of the Republican-led Congress. The legislation, which will enact the largest tax code overhaul in more than three decades, will head to the White House to be signed into law. The House voted to pass the sweeping bill on Wednesday afternoon, hours after the Senate gave its approval.

Meanwhile, the major domestic equity indexes dipped on Wednesday, pausing after recent record highs despite both houses of Congress approving the long-anticipated tax overhaul.

The proposed changes include cutting the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent from Jan. 1, which could boost company earnings and pave the way for higher dividends and stock buybacks.

The S&P 500 has climbed about 4.5 percent since mid-November, led by a rally in sectors such as transport, banks and others that are expected to benefit the most from lower taxes.

It is no unlikely that the market has already priced in approval of the tax bill, hence the lull.

Four of the 11 major S&P sectors ended higher, led by a 1.4 percent gain in energy. Energy stocks were fueled as oil prices rose about 1 percent, supported by a larger-than-expected decline in domestic inventories.

Telecoms saw a 0.6-percent rise. The sector is considered by some analysts to be the largest beneficiary of lower taxes. AT&T closed out the day up 1.3 percent.

The Dow Jones Transport Index rose 0.9 percent to a record high close, due in part to a sharp rise in the shares of FedEx. FedEx gained 3.5 percent and earlier in the session touched a record high, a day after it reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings number.

Technology stocks, expected to benefit the least from lower taxes, were down 0.1 percent on the S&P 500. Chipmaker Micron was up 4.0 percent after strong results and forecast.

The consumer staples index fell 0.4 percent, weighed down by a 2.5-percent slide in Philip Morris International. It has been reported that former Philip Morris employees detailed irregularities in clinical trials for the company’s e-cigarette, due to be voted on by the FDA next year.

Approximately 6.17 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.84 billion share average for the last 20 trading days.