By Mark DeCambre and Joy Wiltermuth
House Democrats this week proposed b umping corporate taxes up to 26.5% from the current 21% rate to help fund Biden’s budget, which would be less than the initial 28% level proposed.
“A lot of what originally was proposed has been dialed back to get through reconciliation,” Pai said, of Biden’s ambitious plans to retool the U.S. economy.
Investors also remain sensitive to the fallout from the COVID pandemic, which is threatening to slow global economic growth, as the delta variant has been pushing some hospitals in the U.S . to the brink again, while grim, new milestones have been set elsewhere in the world.
President Biden on Wednesday met with executives at Walt Disney Co. /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.20% , Microsoft Corp /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +2.11% , Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203410933/composite WBA +0.39% and other major U.S. companies to gather support for expanded vaccine mandates announced by the White House last week.
Invesco’s Hooper also said the Fed has done a fairly good job in communicating its intention to taper its $120 billion in monthly purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities and that Chairman Jerome Powell also has emphasized the decoupling of tapering from eventual interest rate increases.
“The Fed has done a good job messaging but we just don’t have exact dates,” the Invesco strategist said, speculating that the beginning of tapering might come in October if not November.
In economic data, the New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index surged 16 points to 34.3 in September, the regional Fed bank said Wednesday. Economists had expected a reading of 17.2, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal. The index stood at 18.3 in August. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions.
Separately, the import price index dropped 0.3% last month, the government said Wednesday , marking the first decline in 10 months. The drop was mostly attributed to the lower cost of foreign oil and industrial supplies.
And data on U.S. industrial production showed a 0.4% rise in August after a 0.8% gain in the prior month, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. The gain is below economist expectations of a 0.5%, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal.
Which companies were in focus?
Shares of Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +2.11% rose 1.7% Wednesday. The technology giant late Tuesday lifted its quarterly dividend by 11% and the company’s board agreed a new stock buyback plan of up to $60 billion.
Shares of Las Vegas Sands /zigman2/quotes/208792014/composite LVS -1.61% shed 1.7% and those for Wynn Resorts /zigman2/quotes/208845907/composite WYNN -3.14% lost 6.3%, while MGM Resorts /zigman2/quotes/209932643/composite MGM -1.72% shares declined 2.5%. The losses came after casino shares slumped in Macau on indications the local government aims to more closely supervise those companies .
Kansas City Southern /zigman2/quotes/200211518/composite KSU +0.43% formally picks Canadian Pacific /zigman2/quotes/204163517/composite CP +0.55% over Canadian National /zigman2/quotes/208205632/composite CNI +1.18% . Shares of Kansas City rose 0.5%, CP’s shares gained 1%, while those for CNI climbed 2.1%.
Share of Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +2.19% gained 0.6% after the iPhone maker debuted a series of updates to its suite of mobile phones and its Apple watch.
Exxon /zigman2/quotes/204455864/composite XOM +0.56% and other energy stocks gained as crude oil prices rose sharply Wednesday as weather in the U.S. Gulf has reduced output.
How did other assets trade?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y -3.69% rose 2.6 basis points to 1.302%. Yields and debt prices move in opposite directions.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.67% , which measures the currency against a basket of six major rivals, fell 0.2% to 92.48.
Oil futures finished higher, with the U.S. benchmark /zigman2/quotes/209723049/delayed CL00 -3.99% rising 3.1% to settle at $72.61 a barrel. October natural gas climbed 3.8% to settle at $5.46 per million British thermal units. Gold futures fell, with December gold /zigman2/quotes/210039437/delayed GCZ21 +0.72% down$12.30, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,794.80 an ounce.
In European equities, the Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.48% closed 0.8% lower, while London’s FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.44% finished the session down 0.3%.