January 18, 2018 Market Outlook

Dow Jones Closes Above 26,000 for the First Time

Wall Street regained solid footing on Wednesday as the Dow Jones climbed 300 points to close past 26,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq forged ahead as well. The blue-chip index closed at 26,115.65 which is its best percentage gain since November.

The Dow already hit the milestone on Tuesday but a reversal caused the index to close below 26,000. The low unemployment rate, global economic growth, and corporate profits are firing up the market.

Investors Await How New Tax Rules Affect More Firms

Investors are keenly awaiting the earnings reports from more big corporate names to see how they assess the new tax rules. Morgan Stanley (MS) will release earnings before the market opens. At the close, American Express (AXP) and International Business Machines (IBM) will report their earnings.

Investors find the corporate tax cut favorable as companies can save billions of dollars and have more funds to return to shareholders and to buy or merge with other companies.

Apple to Pay $38 Billion One-Time Tax Charge

Like many American companies with global operations, Apple Inc. (AAPL) will be paying $38 billion in one-time tax payments on the overseas profits they’ve amassed in recent decades. Since the 2016 presidential campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump has been criticizing the iPhone maker for making products in Asian factories.

Apart from announcing the payment of a huge one-time tax charge, Apple also disclosed they will open a new U.S. campus as part of a five-year investment plan worth $30 billion.

Intel’s Newer Chips Hounded by Security Flaws

Intel (INTC) confirmed on Wednesday that data center computers with their newer chips might reboot more often than normal because of problems with the patches issued to fix the so-called Spectre and Meltdown security flaws. Intel would send out initial versions of fixes for the buggy patches to customers by next week.

The patches for the security flaws can cause higher-than-expected reboot rates in Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, and Skylake. The problem can also affect the company’s most recent offering, the Kaby Lake processor. Navin Shenoy, general manager of the data center group, said they received reports that its security patches were causing problems in systems with the older chips Broadwell and Haswell.

Ripple Co-Founder’s Paper Fortune Drops by 44 Billion

Ripple’s XRP coin has fallen by 74% from an all-time high of $3.84 hit on January 4. The digital currency’s plunge wiped billions from the paper fortune of billionaire Chris Larsen, co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple, in just a few weeks. Only recently, Larsen made it to list of Forbes’ top five richest people in the U.S., besting Google’s founders.

With XRP trading near $1 on Wednesday, Larsen now holds the equivalent of only $15.8 billion. According to CNBC’s calculations from Forbes’ data, the amount was previously $59.9 billion during XRP’s peak. For this month, Larsen has 5.19 billion of XRP and a 17% stake in the start-up. Ripple holds 61.3 billion of the 100 billion XRP coins in existence.

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