Friday's Top Stock Stories

Stocks opened sharply higher and remained in positive territory for the entire session following the passage of a budget in the Senate, which was read as a sign of potential progress toward the Trump administration's long-awaited tax reform plan. The early strength came despite the poor earnings report from General Electric (GE), which missed Wall Street estimates and cut its outlook. As GE's share price recovered, the Dow and S&P stretched their gains with the Dow zooming past the 23,300 level.

ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., existing home sales rose 0.7% to a 5.39M rate in September, which was better than forecast and breaks a string of three straight monthly declines. On the political front, the Senate passed a budget resolution Thursday night. Of note, the Senate resolution was apparently adjusted to accommodate demands from House Republicans, meaning the House is expected to pass the measure next week, taking another step toward a potential tax reform agreement. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is down 15 rigs from last week to 913.

COMPANY NEWS: Shares of General Electric were in focus after the company reported quarterly profit that widely missed consensus estimates and cut its outlook for fiscal 2017 as new CEO John Flannery called the results "unacceptable." Flannery said the company is "focused on redefining our culture, running our businesses better, and reducing our complexity" and added that "there are no sacred cows" in the company's review... Shares of Procter & Gamble (PG), which recently declared a win in its proxy battle with activist Nelson Peltz, fell 3.65% after it reported first quarter sales and earnings that were roughly in line with expectations, adding that the start keeps the company on track to deliver on its fiscal year targets... Meanwhile, Celgene (CELG) shares fell 10.76% after a Data Monitoring Committee's recommended the discontinuation of a clinical study of GED-301 for Crohn's disease. The news prompted downgrades to Neutral at Citi and Baird, and price target cuts at a number of other firms... Additionally, Synchronoss (SNCR) shares were in focus after Reuters reported that Siris Capital has lined up $650M in loans to finance its roughly $1B buyout of Intralinks (IL) from Synchronoss.

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