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Benchmarks closed in the green on Thursday after tech stocks notched up gains for the third consecutive day. This led the S&P 500 to end its four-session long stretch of declines and rally upward. Further, investors maintained a close watch on any developments related to the Republican Tax Bill. Also, markets waited for Friday’s jobs report to gauge the strength of the labor market as a Fed rate hike seems more or less certain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increased 0.3%, to close at 24,211.48. The S&P 500 Index (INX) rose 0.3% to close at 2,636.98. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,812.84, gaining 0.5%. A total of 6.4 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 6.6 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.70-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.75-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues. The CBOE VIX decreased 7.8% to close at 10.16.

Tech Stocks Up For 3 Straight-Days

Valuation concerns had recently resulted in a selloff of tech stocks. Additionally, worries over possible inclusion of the alternative minimum tax in the final version of the Republican tax Bill also weighed on investor sentiment. However, following the recent selloff, tech stocks have registered three straight days of gains with investors buying the sector on the dip.

The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) rose more than 0.6%, becoming one of the strong performing sectors among key S&P 500. Some of its key holdings, including Facebook, Inc. (FB - Free Report) , Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN - Free Report) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) increased 2.3%, 0.7% and 1.2%, respectively.

Infrastructure Plan Launch Likely in Jan 2018

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump reaffirmed his election campaign promise to pump $1 trillion of new infrastructure spending into the U.S. economy, aimed at fixing America's "crumbling" infrastructure.

But, the plan has faced roadblocks after Trump failed to pass his healthcare overhaul Bill. However, with the much-awaited tax Bill being passed by the Senate and on the verge of receiving the approval of the House, expectations are high that the White House will move ahead with a huge infrastructure plan next year.

Moreover, speaking about the infrastructure program on Wednesday a senior White House official said the Trump administration’s plan was to “have principles for the Hill in January." Expectations of higher infrastructure spending had a positive impact on both industrials and materials stocks.

The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) rose 0.9% was the best performer among the S&P 500 sectors. One of its key components, The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) increased 1.3%. Additionally, the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) advanced 0.7%, becoming the second biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. The sector’s biggest holdings, DowDuPont Inc. (DWDP - Free Report) rose 0.4%. DowDuPont has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

During the weekend, U.S. Senate Republicans passed the much awaited tax Bill after they won a vote 51 to 49 to pass the tax overhaul bill in the Senate. However, Senate’s Tax Bill has some differences with that of the House. Late Wednesday, the Republican Senate said that tax bill-related negotiations will be started with the House of Representatives. This in turn raised optimism that Trump’s final tax Bill will be passed by the Republican deadline of Dec. 22.

Stocks That Made Headlines

United Natural Ups View on Solid Q1 Earnings & Sales

United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI - Free Report) posted first-quarter fiscal 2018 results, wherein both top and bottom lines improved year over year and surpassed estimates. (Read More)

United Continental's November Traffic Up, PRASM View Bullish

United Continental Holdings, Inc.’s (UAL - Free Report) wholly owned subsidiary, United Airlines, reported traffic numbers for November. (Read More)

ExxonMobil-Grupo to Penetrate Mexican Fuel Business

ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) is planning to reap benefits from Mexico’s new energy policy regime. (Read More)

Wall Street’s Next Amazon

Zacks EVP Kevin Matras believes this familiar stock has only just begun its climb to become one of the greatest investments of all time. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in pure genius.

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