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Dow Stocks Lead Early Surge; Costco Gains, Top Railroad Sells Off | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

The Dow hammered out an early lead Friday, as stocks rose and investors looked to the possible release of a reconciled GOP tax reform package later in the morning.

X The Dow Jones industrial average opened 0.5% higher, with Pfizer (PFE) and Visa (V) at the head of the index’s early gains.

The S&P 500 also gained 0.5%, with the Nasdaq Composite up 0.3%, despite heavy losses from CSX (CSX).

Volume is likely to be high during Friday’s session, due to the expiration of stock index futures and options as well as stock options and futures, in what is called a quadruple witching day. Markets are also keenly tuned to the Capitol, where lawmakers are hashing out the final details in a massive tax overhaul they plan to release Friday, and vote on before the end of next week.

Friday’s economic news kicked off with the New York Federal Reserve issuing a ‘no surprise’ reading on regional manufacturing growth. Its December Empire State Manufacturing Survey came in at 18, down from November’s 19.4 tally and in line with economist estimates. New orders and shipments jumped for the month, and both selling and input prices are seeing rapid increases.

Industrial production inched up 0.2% in November, the Federal Reserve reported, but also revised October’s growth upward to a 1.2% leap, vs. its initial 0.9% estimate. Economist had expected a 0.3% increase in November.

Utilization of manufacturing capacity eased to 77%, just below October’s 77.1% number and vs. consensus views for an increase to 77.2%.

Baker Hughes’ (BHGE) delivers its weekly drilling rig census at 1 p.m. ET.

CSX Chief Takes Leave; Costco, Adobe Top Views

Railroad operator CSX  unraveled 8%, after reporting late Thursday that Hunter Harrison — installed by activist investors as chief executive at the start of this year — would take an unexpected medical leave of absence. Jim Foote, chief operating officer since October, will temporarily assume the CEO position.

The Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 stock had just cleared a 55.09 buy point in a flat base, ending 4% above that entry.

On the Dow, Boeing took over the top slot, rising 0.5% as the stock looks to add a fifth week to its recent rally.

Pfizer (PFE) jumped 0.8% at the start of trade, after announcing the Food and Drug Administration approved two doses of its rheumatoid arthritis treatment Xeljanz for active psoriatic arthritis. The gain put shares just below below a 36.88 buy point in an eight-week flat base.

IBD 50 stock Adobe Systems rose 1% in early trade. The developer of design and marketing software reported after Thursday’s close fiscal fourth-quarter results and Q1 and full-year guidance above analysts’ targets.  Shares are in a buy range, on a rebound from support at the stock’s 10-week moving average.

Oracle (ORCL) crumpled 5%, after reporting late Thursday a fiscal second-quarter performance above analysts earnings and revenue targets, but its cloud computing results and revenue outlook disappointed investors. The stock has been fighting to hold support at its 10-week line following the failure of an attempted breakout in September.

Membership store Costco (COST) gained nearly 4%. The Issaquah, Wash.-based retailer’s fiscal first-quarter sales and earnings narrowly topped analyst views, but same-store-sales rose 10.5% and e-commerce outpaced expectations. Shares are beyond a buy range above a 173.19 buy point in a six-month base pattern.

Global Markets: Hong Kong, Tokyo End Week Lower

Asian stock markets ended an up-and-down week on a down note, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index falling 1.1% to take a 1% loss for the week. In Japan, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.6%, ending the week down 0.6%.

Europe’s markets were mixed in afternoon trade, with Frankfurt’s DAX down 0.2%, the CAC-40 in Paris off 0.3% and London’s FTSE 100 defending a 0.1% increase.

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