Trio of US stock indices notch new closing highs

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A trio of US large-cap stock gauges posted new closing highs on Friday, with industrial, consumer discretionary and technology shares leading the way.

The S&P 500 advanced 0.8 per cent this week, the Nasdaq Composite tacked on 1.2 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1 per cent.

Investors eyed remarks from US President Donald Trump indicating that a “phenomenal” announcement on corporate tax reform could land as soon as two weeks from now. The American tax rate is among the highest in the developed world, and a reduction is considered bullish for corporate America.

A slew of big companies also reported results this week, leaving the forecast for fourth-quarter earnings-per-share growth at almost 7 per cent, representing an uptick from the 4 per cent pace logged in the previous three-month period, S&P Capital IQ data show.

The energy sector was the only major S&P 500 group that ended the week in the red, falling 0.7 per cent. Earnings from companies in the industry have undershot even conservative analyst expectations, with Wall Street now expecting a 16.5 per cent contraction, from an outlook of an 8.4 per cent drop at the beginning of 2017.

Investors will have another round of corporate earnings next week, along with several important economic reports.

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