October 27, 2017 by Lorcan Roche Kelly
GOP tax plan remains on track, Amazon shakes the health-care industry, and third-quarter GDP data due. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Yesterday’s successful adoption of budget resolution by the House means the path to passing a tax-reform bill remains open, if still difficult. One of the main difficulties for lawmakers continues to be finding out what is actually in the plan before its release on Nov. 1. This has done nothing to dampen the ambitious schedule to get that plan into law, with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn saying the bill would have to be out of the Senate by Thanksgiving. U.S. stocks rallied yesterday on renewed hopes for successful tax reform.
Amazon.com Inc. shares rose as much as 8.5 percent, topping $1,000, in extended trading yesterday after announcing results that beat analyst estimates. While this made for a good day for company founder Jeff Bezos who added $6.6 billion to his personal fortune, it wasn’t a cause for celebration everywhere. The prospect of the retail giant entering the health-care industry following a report that it had received pharmacy-wholesale licenses in a dozen states triggered a steep selloff among suppliers. Established players in the sector seem to be looking at defensive moves, with CVS Health Corp. reportedly in talks to buy insurer Aetna Inc.
Economists are estimating that hurricane damage to third-quarter U.S. GDP may be less than originally expected, with the median estimate for a 2.6 percent annualized expansion in the period. The data is due to be released by the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. eastern time. Should the growth rate come in close to expectations, it would give the U.S. the strongest back-to-back prints since 2015, following the second-quarter’s 3.1 percent annualized growth.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.3 percent, while Japan’s Topix index added 1.0 percent as the yen weakened against the dollar. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.5 percent higher at 5:55 a.m. as positive earnings added to yesterday’s ECB-policy boost. S&P 500 futures were 0.3 percent higher, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.452 percent and gold was lower.
Yesterday was tech, today it’s big oil’s turn to dominate earnings. Already, Total SA posted the highest earnings from pumping oil and gas in more than two years. The largest U.S. oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. are due to announce results pre-market. In trading, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for December delivery was at $52.56 by 5:55 a.m.