Wall Street sets record highs after passage of Donald Trump’s tax cuts
Investors buy heavily into US shares in wake of Senate’s passage of package of big tax cuts for corporations and high earners
Shares on Wall Street have hit record levels as financial markets around the world anticipate the biggest package of US tax cuts since Ronald Reagan was in the White House in the 1980s.
Investors bought heavily into US stocks after Donald Trump received approval from the Senate for reforms that offer the biggest reduction in taxes to corporations and those on high incomes.
Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the more broadly based Standard & Poor’s 500 hit record levels in early trading but later fell back because of a sell-off of technology stocks, which have seen substantial price rises this year. But there was heavy buying of telecom, bank, financial and other shares in sectors seen as benefiting from the tax cuts – the centrepiece of Trump’s economic strategy.
The technology sector is expected to benefit less because it already enjoys low tax rates.
Although the final details of the package have still to be finalised through an agreement between the Senate and the House of Representatives, Wall Street believes that the president has finally succeeded in a near year-long battle to get Congress to support his plan.
The Dow Jones closed just 58 points up, while the S&P 500 was 0.1% down. The latter has risen about 18% since the start of the year on strong corporate earnings, economic growth and confidence that Trump would eventually get his tax cuts.
Markets have shrugged off concerns that the cuts, like those in the 1980s, will lead to a ballooning of the US budget deficit. Mickey Levy, chief US economist at Berenberg, said he had revised up his growth forecasts for the world’s biggest economy to 2.9% in 2018 and to 2.7% in 2019 as a result of the likely boost from the tax cuts.
Donald Trump slashes size of national parks in Utah to allow drilling
Julie Allen, Washington
4 December 2017 • 7:54pm
President Trump has announced plans to slash the size of two US national parks, provoking fury from environmentalists, native American tribes and conservationists.
Mr Trump called for the 1.3 million acre Bears Ears National Monument to be cut back to 228,784 acres split into two separate areas.
He also called for Grand Staircase Escalante Monument to be slashed by half to just under one million acres and split into three areas.
Both parks, or monuments as they are called, are in the dramatic Southern Utah red rock country.
The changes will make way for oil and gas drilling, mining and other resource extraction activities in the beauty spot.
Unlike national parks that can only be created by an act of Congress, national monuments can be designated unilaterally by presidents under the century-old Antiquities Act, a law meant to protect sacred sites, artifacts and historical objects.
Mr Trump travelled to Salt Lake City to make the announcement at a rally on Monday. A protest is being organised by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and on Saturday, thousands of demonstrators holding signs with messages like “Protect Wild Utah” converged on the steps of the Utah State Capitol.