9-28-17 4:52 PM EDT | Email Article

By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica

Financial shares fall, but material sector advances

U.S. stock benchmarks posted slight gains on Thursday, but the advance was enough to record a trio of all-time highs for three closely followed benchmarks: the Russell 2000, Dow transports and the S&P 500. The Trump administration's tax-overhaul proposal continued to fuel some buying appetite for equities.

What did stocks do?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 40 points, or 0.2%, to close at 22,381, with shares of McDonald's Corp., (MCD)delivering the biggest lift to blue chips (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mcdonalds-stock-surge-after-an-upgrade-accounts-for-more-than-half-of-the-dows-gain-2017-09-28). The S&P 500 added 3.02 points, or 0.1%, to end at 2,510.06, representing its 38th all-time closing high of 2017. The advance was led by gains in the material sector, up 0.7%, and headlined by a 3% rise in shares of Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN).

The Nasdaq Composite Index closed little changed, with a rise of 0.19 point, or less than 0.1%, to 6,453.45.

The Russell 2000 rose 3.97 points, or 0.3%, at 1,488.79, marking its second straight record finish.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average , meanwhile, logged a record close, rising 44.83 points, or 0.5%, to 9,886.82. The gauge tracks some of the largest U.S. airlines, railroads and trucking companies and ended at a historic peak Wednesday.

What's driving the market?

Talk of lower taxes and other proposed changes to tax policy were seen as key drivers. However, not everyone on Wall Street (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-the-stock-market-isnt-banking-on-quick-action-on-trumps-tax-cuts-2017-09-28)is banking on a legislation happening soon.

In a CNBC interview on Thursday, and later at a news conference, top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn extolled the virtues of the tax plan.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

What are market participants saying?

"We shall wait and see how Trump's plans evolve into legislation," said Deutsche Bank's strategist Jim Reid in a note on Thursday. "Our U.S. team's early take is that they see a prospect of some reforms occurring at the corporate level (particularly for small corporates), but the potential for substantive reform of personal tax is much lower."

What are the data?

The latest economic data painted a mixed picture of the economy. Jobless claims rose by 12,000 in the latest week, although this spike was tied to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which devastated Florida and parts of Texas. Separately, a read on second-quarter economic growth was raised (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/economys-2nd-quarter-growth-raised-to-31-2017-09-28) to 3.1% from 3%.

Which stocks are in focus?

Streaming-media company Roku Inc. soared 68% in its trading debut, after its initial public offering priced at $14 a share on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/roku-sets-14-per-share-ipo-price-on-13-billion-valuation-2017-09-27).

Read: 5 things to know about Roku (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/roku-ipo-5-things-to-know-about-the-streaming-device-company-2017-09-05)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/roku-ipo-5-things-to-know-about-the-streaming-device-company-2017-09-05)Exa Corp.(EXA) surged 43% after French software company Dassault Systemes SE (DASTY) said it would buy the U.S. simulation-software developer in a cash deal valued at $400 million (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dassault-systemes-to-buy-exa-for-400-million-2017-09-28).

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dassault-systemes-to-buy-exa-for-400-million-2017-09-28)Shares of BlackBerry Ltd.(BB.T) jumped more than 13% after a surprise profit and revenue beat (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/blackberrys-stock-soars-after-surprise-profit-revenue-beat-2017-09-28).

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/blackberrys-stock-soars-after-surprise-profit-revenue-beat-2017-09-28)Southwest Airlines Co.(LUV) ended 0.5% after it said natural disasters would have a negative effect on its operating revenue.

Shares of McDonald's, up 2.4%, saw the biggest daily gain since July 25, with the Dow component contributing 26 points to the benchmark.

Read:These companies are expected to increase sales the most in 2018 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/these-companies-are-expected-to-increase-sales-the-most-in-2018-2017-09-26)

What are other assets doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index stalled after hitting a one-month high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-index-stalls-after-striking-one-month-highs-2017-09-28).

Gold futures fell to a six-week low (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-drops-to-6-week-low-as-dollar-continues-march-higher-2017-09-28), squeezed by dollar strength. Oil futures gave up early gains to end lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-extends-rise-spurred-by-us-inventory-decline-2017-09-28).

European stocks wavered, with just modest gains for some regional indexes. Asian markets closed mostly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-up-but-chinese-stocks-dip-on-profit-taking-ahead-of-holiday-2017-09-27), outside of a 0.4% gain for the Nikkei 225 .

Read:Japan parliament dissolved, snap elections called: report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/japan-parliament-dissolved-snap-elections-called-report-2017-09-28)

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 28, 2017 16:52 ET (20:52 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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