Stocks retreat from record highs as House passes tax bill

Friday, December 15, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 50

NEW YORK (AP) — After big gains over the last two days, U.S. stocks declined Tuesday after the House of Representative approved the Republican-backed tax bill, which would lower corporate tax rates.

Big technology companies gave up some of their recent gains, and so did smaller companies, which have surged because investors feel they will be major beneficiaries of the reduced corporate tax rate. High-dividend stocks dropped as bond yields rose. U.S. indexes had jumped to record highs over the last two days as Republicans appeared to shore up enough support to make sure the bill passes.

Investors like that because it would boost corporate profits and likely raise stock prices along with it. The bill would initially cut taxes for most Americans but by 2027 would increase tax bills for most.

While stocks weren't doing much Tuesday, bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to its highest price in more than a month, to 2.45 percent from 2.39 percent late Monday.

Invesco Global Market Strategist Kristina Hooper said two factors are sending bond yields higher: investors are selling bonds to buy stocks as the tax bill appears likely to pass, and they also feel the bill may contribute to inflation.

"There's this expectation that we'll see companies save money on taxes, to put it simply, and spend more in other areas," she said. Investors think "it's going to have an impact on employment, wages, and therefore inflation," she said.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 8.69 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,681.47. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 37.45 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,754.75. The Nasdaq composite gave up 30.91 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,963.85. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 12.17 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,536.75. It climbed almost 3 percent over the previous two days.

Apple fell $1.88, or 1.1 percent, to $174.54 after it closed at a new high on Monday. Visa lost $1.41, or 1.2 percent, to $112.14.

The tax bill passed through the House, largely along party lines ahead of a Senate vote scheduled for Tuesday night. The $1.5 trillion package would cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, and would slash taxes for the wealthy, with smaller cuts for middle-and low-income families.

Investors also traded on corporate news. Offshore drilling platform maker McDermott International said it will acquire engineering, procurement and construction services company Chicago Bridge & Iron. The companies valued the deal at $6 billion. McDermott fell 90 cents, or 11.9 percent, to $6.69 and CB&I lost $1.91, or 10.7 percent, to $16.01.

Medical device maker Zimmer Biomet climbed after it named Bryan Hanson to be its new CEO. Hanson most recently led at Medtronic's minimally invasive therapies business. Former CEO David Dvorak left the company in July. Zimmer gained $6.95, or 6.1 percent, to $121.38.

Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare said it will cut another $100 million in costs and will look to sell its Conifer business, which provides revenue management services. The company also said it will continue shaking up its board. Its stock gained 29 cents, or 2 percent, to $15.03.

Nursing and rehabilitation center company Kindred Healthcare said it will be bought by health insurer Humana and two private equity firms for $9 a share. That values Kindred at $782 million, and the company said the deal is worth $4.1 billion including debt.

Rumors of a sale have boosted the stock 23 percent this month, including a gain of 10.5 percent Monday. On Tuesday it retreated 40 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $9.10.

The hype surrounding digital currencies showed no signs of slowing. Shares in the financial technology company Longfin have skyrocketed since it bought, which created a virtual currency for micro-lending. Longfin went public last Wednesday at $5 a share and announced the Ziddu deal Friday. The stock slipped $4.11, or 5.7 percent, to $68.27, giving Longfin a market value of $5.7 billion.

Even CEO Venkat Meenavalli attributed the sudden spike to "euphoric mania" in an interview with CNBC late Monday.

Energy companies edged higher along with the price of oil. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 30 cents to $57.46 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 39 cents to $63.80 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline picked up 2 cents to $1.70 a gallon. Heating oil gained 1 cent to $1.94 a gallon. Natural gas sank 5 cents to $2.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold slipped $1.30 to $1,264.20 an ounce. Silver fell 5 cents to $16.15 an ounce. Copper added 1 cent to $3.15 a pound.

The dollar rose to 112.94 yen from 112.56 yen. The euro rose to $1.1845 from $1.1784.

The DAX in Germany slid 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 gave up 0.7 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent. The Kospi in Seoul declined 0.1 percent.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at His work can be found at