Market Snapshot: Dow industrials poised to climb closer to 24,000 milestone

Futures for the Dow industrials pointed to a rise at the open Wednesday, putting the blue-chip gauge on track for a fresh record as it approaches the 24,000 mark.

But futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 were trading flat to slightly lower, as traders kept an eye out for progress on a U.S. tax overhaul following a step forward during the prior session.

The stock market is also set to digest a round of economic reports and Federal Reserve speeches.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ7, +0.20%  tacked on 42 points, or 0.2%, to 23,853.

S&P 500 futures ESZ7, +0.03% inched down by 0.25 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,625.75, while Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ7, +0.00%  edged lower by 3.75 points, or 0.1%, to 6,416.50.

On Tuesday, the Dow DJIA, +1.09%  , S&P SPX, +0.98% and Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.49%  achieved all-time closing highs, as progress on a Republican tax overhaul appeared to offset worries about a North Korean missile test. The Dow finished sharply higher, rising by 1.1%, or 255.93 points, to end at 23,836.71 — less than below 1% the 24,000 level.

The three equity benchmarks have gained between 17% and 28% for the year, boosted by factors such as an expanding U.S. economy, rising corporate profits, anemic expected returns for other assets and bets that the Trump administration will deliver on tax cuts and other business-friendly policies.

See: Why the Korean won is shrugging off missile worries to trade near a 2½-year high

What are strategists saying?

“The major theme right now is nothing other than the tax reform bill and President Trump’s efforts to pass it through the Senate,” said Konstantinos Anthis, an ADS Securities analyst, in a note.

“Should the Senate approve the bill, it will be considered a major victory for President Trump.”

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares in Autodesk Inc. ADSK, -0.22%  plunged 11% in thin premarket trading for the S&P 500’s biggest drop after the software company late Tuesday announced a restructuring plan along with its quarterly earnings.

Movie theater chain Regal Entertainment Group RGC, +7.56%  rose 6% in premarket trading after British counterpart Cineworld Group PLC CINE, -15.12% CNWGY, +0.00%  said it’s in talks to buy the American company for $ 3.1 billion.

But Marvell Technology Group Ltd. MRVL, -0.47%  looks on track for an up day after the chipmaker’s quarterly results and outlook topped forecasts late Tuesday.

Tiffany & Co. TIF, +0.80%  could see active trading as the high-end jeweler is among the companies expected to post earnings before the open.

What are other assets doing?

European stocks SXXP, +0.64% mostly advanced, while Asian markets closed mixed. Oil futures CLJ8, -0.93%  fell after an American Petroleum Institute release indicated a surprise increase in U.S. crude supplies.

The U.S. dollar DXY, -0.07% lost ground against most of its major rivals, dropping in particular against the British pound GBPUSD, +0.4873% as reports signaled progress in the Brexit negotiations. Gold futures GCZ7, -0.02%  traded slightly lower.

What could help drive the market?

Traders will be tracking progress on a U.S. tax overhaul after the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday voted 12-11 to advance a Republican tax bill. A full Senate vote could be held as early as Thursday.

A second estimate on U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with economists polled by MarketWatch forecasting 3.3% growth.

An October reading on pending home sales is slated to arrive at 10 a.m. Eastern, followed at 2 p.m. Eastern by the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a report that provides anecdotal evidence about U.S. economic conditions.

Departing Fed chief Janet Yellen is scheduled to testify on the economic outlook before a congressional committee at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

Also on the Fed front, New York Fed President William Dudley is due to discuss the economy’s prospects at New Jersey’s Rutgers University at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, and San Francisco Fed President John Williams is slated to speak at 1:50 p.m. Eastern at an annual economic forecast luncheon in Phoenix sponsored by Arizona State University.

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