Stocks surge amid strong earnings reports

Donald Trump's tax reforms, the largest in 30 years, slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. "Tax charges are resulting in big one-off hits for some, but underlying earnings trends appear strong".

BIG DECLINER: Industrial stocks accounted for much of the market's afternoon pullback.

But industrial group General Electric saw its share price plummet four percent to US$18.06 after reporting a US$6.2 billion charge due to its legacy insurance business. GE lost 66 cents to $18.10. (CBSA) was reengaging the two media companies in talks to merge. Viacom fell $2.14 to $31.62. 3,678,300 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 3,993,367. Brent crude oil was last 1.1% down at $69.52 a barrel ahead of monthly U.S. drilling productivity numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The fund owned 5,766 shares of the exchange traded fund's stock after acquiring an additional 2,075 shares during the quarter. Range Resources slid 71 cents, or 4 percent, to $16.87. Seven of 11 S&P sectors made gains led by real estate up +1.36% and health care +0.74%. Traders bid up shares in the drugmaker after it announced positive results from a clinical trial for a lung cancer treatment. European equities (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-head-higher-as-euro-pulls-back-2018-01-16) and Asian markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-stocks-bounce-back-hang-seng-aims-for-a-record-2018-01-16) have scored gains. Per-share earnings are expected to rise 12.5 percent in the fourth quarter, while sales are expected to advance 7.2 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Earnings growth for the quarter is forecast at 12.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data through Friday.

IN GEAR: General Motors rose 0.7 percent after the automaker said it expects strong sales in North America and China will sustain its profit through the rest of this year.

Energizer Holdings surged 15 percent after the company said it will acquire the battery and lighting assets of Spectrum. Energizer shares added $7.41 to $59.03.

UnitedHealth rose 2.2 percent after the largest USA health insurer reported results that beat analysts' estimates and raised its full-year profit forecast.

Amazon rose more than 2 percent, extending gains from last week when data showed USA holiday spending surged to 12-year high, prompting price target hikes.

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