Bank, tech stocks lift Wall Street

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct 18, 2017 in New York City. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK (Reuters) - US stocks inched higher on Friday as bank stocks rose and tech stocks recovered, with investor optimism back as Trump administration cleared a hurdle to lower taxes.

Bank of America's 2 per cent gain was the biggest boost to the S&P. Apple led the gains in the technology index as it rose 0.6 per cent after falling 2.5 per cent on Thursday.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved a budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year in a pursuit to legislate the tax-cut package without Democratic support.

Hopes of tax cuts have helped the market rally, as companies expect the move to lift economic growth and inflation.

"The good thing is we're seeing incremental positives as we move toward tax cuts," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

Third-quarter earnings season is under way, with 73 per cent of the 74 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far beating expectations.

"We've got more good news than bad on the earnings front, economic data that's been fairly consistent, yield that's stuck around 2.3 per cent and oil prices around US$52. That's all consistent with the market that's doing the slow grind higher," Hogan said.

The Dow and the S&P 500 turned higher to close at record levels on Thursday after a Politico report said Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell is the leading candidate for Fed chair.

At 1341 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 45.34 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 23,208.38, the S&P 500 was up 6.78 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 2,568.88 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 25.92 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 6,630.99.

Seven of the 11 major S&P were higher, led by a 0.81 per cent gain in the financial index as bank stocks rose, tracking a jump in US Treasury yields.

PayPal's 5.6 per cent rise on upbeat earnings also helped a rebound in tech stocks.

General Electric shares tanked about 3.71 per cent after the industrial conglomerate reported a profit miss and slashed its earnings forecast.

Procter & Gamble dipped 3.45 per cent after the company's sales narrowly missed estimates.

Celgene dipped about 10 per cent after the company said it would abandon testing a drug to treat Crohn's disease.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,681 to 901.

On the Nasdaq, 1,743 issues rose and 675 fell.

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