S&P 500 Reaches Record High Despite Choppy Trading

Stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Thursday, with the major averages spending much of the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. Despite the choppy trading, the S&P 500 reached a new record closing high.

The major averages all ended the day in positive territory, although the Nasdaq inched up just 0.19 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 6,453.45. The Dow rose 40.49 points or 0.2 percent to 22,381.20, and the S&P 500 edged up 3.02 points or 0.1 percent to 2,510.06.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders continued to digest the tax reform plan unveiled by Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump.

The GOP plan includes a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, a consolidation in the personal income tax brackets to three from seven, and a sharp increase in the standard deduction.

In remarks touting the plan in Indiana on Wednesday, Trump suggested the tax reform proposal represents a historic opportunity.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Trump said. “We’re going to cut taxes for the middle class, make the tax code simpler and more fair for everyday Americans.”

He added, “And we are going to bring back the jobs and wealth that have left our country and most people thought left our country for good.”

While Republicans did not provide details about how the cost of the tax cuts would be offset, Trump’s top economic advisor Gary Cohn predicted the plan would be paid for by economic growth.

“We think we can drive a lot of business back to America, we can drive jobs back to America, we can make ourselves very competitive,” Cohn told CNBC. “We think we can pay for the entire tax cut through growth over the cycle.”

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing economic activity increased by slightly more than previously estimated in the second quarter.

The report said gross domestic product jumped by 3.1 percent in the second quarter compared to the previously estimated 3.0 percent growth. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to be unrevised.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed a rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended September 23rd.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 272,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 260,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 270,000.

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Most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day,…

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