The Dow pulled back on lighter trade as Wall Street gets ready for the Q4 earnings season. At the close the Dow was off 12 points to 25,283. Meanwhile the S&P 500 Index and the NASDAQ both hit new highs. Big movers today were the material stocks like timber, steel and aluminum and large cap tech like Amazon and Facebook.
Corporate earnings are once again upon us and the general feeling is that Q4 numbers will be very good with year over year earnings growth in the 12% range. Analysts have been raising estimates of late and while some companies have announced charges this quarter due to changes in tax law they seem universally positive on forward prospects with the new corporate rate at 21%. Some companies have even announced increases in their 401k match as a way of passing tax savings on to employees.
Oil prices continue to move higher as WTI crude traded at $61.88 per barrel up 44 cents. This is the highest level since mid-2015. Prices are being pushed by rising global demand and Middle East production worries. Gurus are also expecting US producers to bring more wells online now that oil is above the $60 mark.