11:12 AM, Dec 21, 2017 — US equity benchmarks were trading higher on the penultimate day of the week, the morning after the Republican tax bill secured approval and as oil prices gained traction after government data showed a decline in US stockpiles.
Fresh data meanwhile showed that economic growth for the third quarter was lower than previously projected but still above the level seen in the prior quarter. Gross domestic product rose by 3.2% on an annualized basis during the period, down from an earlier estimate of 3.3% growth, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but nevertheless higher than the 3.1% growth rate seen in the second quarter of the year.
In equity news, Envision Healthcare (EVHC) was leading the gainers, up by 7.4% two days after it said that it and some of its subsidiaries had agreed to a final settlement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) with a payment of approximately $31 million to resolve a DOJ investigation into physician services.
Discovery Communications was up by 4.4%, and technology consulting company Accenture was 3.9% higher after it lifted its outlook for earnings and revenue growth in the fiscal year after first-quarter results came in ahead of Wall Street’s expectations.
Oil prices were higher after government data showed that US stockpiles of crude oil contracted by 6.5 million barrels last week. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were 0.1% higher at $58.14 per barrel while Brent crude, the international gauge, was up by 0.1% at $64.66 per barrel in recent trade.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.42% higher, the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up by 0.32% and the Nasdaq was up by 0.14% at the time of writing.