US markets

Markets Jump to Intraday Record on US Tax Bill Hopes, Merger Moves

11:40 AM, Dec 18, 2017 — Stocks in the US surged on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting a triple-digit gain amid hopes that the tax reform bill being debated by lawmakers will be put to a vote and pass this week.

The Dow, Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all hit intraday record highs as Republican lawmakers said on Sunday talk shows that they believe they have enough votes to pass the consensus plan on taxes. The blue-chip Dow has surged about 5,000 points this year and Monday’s gains were led by DowDuPont (DWDP), which rose 2.2%, and Intel (INTC), which advanced 2.1%.

Mergers also buoyed the measures, with Campbell Soup (CPB) up 1.2% after saying it would acquire snack-food maker Snyder’s-Lance (LNCE), which jumped 6.6%. Amplify Snack Brands (BETR) surged 70% after Hershey (HSY) said it was buying the company in a $1.6 billion deal.

WellCare Health Plans (WCG) fell 2.6% after the company said it expects 2018 adjusted earnings of $8.40 to $8.65, below the $8.66 average estimate from analysts polled by Capital IQ.

In economic news, builder confidence for new, single-family homes rose to 74 in December, the highest since July 1999 and ahead of the consensus on Econoday for 70. November’s rate was lowered by one point to 69, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index showed.

In late morning trading, the Nasdaq was up 0.8%, the Dow increased 0.7% and the S&P 500 added 0.6%.

Globally, the FTSE 100 rose 0.7%, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.6%, the Hang Seng increased 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite added 0.1%.

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