U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday as two GOP Senators raised some concerns about the tax bill.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 76.77 points to 24,508.66 after reaching an all-time intraday high earlier in the session. The index also snapped a five-day winning streak.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee was undecided on whether to support the tax bill, while Sen. Marco Rubio currently opposes it. However, their stances could change if some tweaks are made to the bill.
“This market has been going in lockstep with the progress made in the tax bill,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. “When you see bumps in the road, you’re going to get some volatility.”
Wall Street has been eagerly awaiting the tax bill, which if passed would slash the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Investors expect this to be accomplished by year-end, and President Donald Trump has expressed his desire to sign a bill by Christmas.
In corporate news, Disney said Thursday it will pay $52.4 billion in stock to buy Fox’s movie studios, network Nat Geo, and Asian pay-TV operator Star TV, among other assets.
The acquisition bolsters Disney’s plans to become a dominant streaming service platform, making it a bigger threat to Netflix.
“While this deal has been rumored for the past few weeks, Iger & Co. making the deal official this morning is a transformational event for the future of the content and streaming landscape in our opinion,” said Dan Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights.
“We view this as a ‘home-run deal’ for Disney and while its an aggressive acquisition with a high price tag, in our opinion this is the right move at the right time as the marriage of these assets creates a much more formidable Disney,” Ives said.
The deal comes at a time when megadeals have fallen significantly. PwC said in a report Thursday that megadeals —those worth more than $5 billion — are down this year to 38 form 58 in 2016.
But a record dollar amount in deals announced in November, coupled with an expected U.S. tax code revamp, could “herald a comeback for deal values and megadeals,” PwC said.
Wall Street also received positive news in the form of economic data. Weekly jobless claims totaled 225,000, well below an estimate of 239,000. Meanwhile, retail sales rose 0.8 percent in November versus an estimated increase of 0.3 percent.
“That retail sales number was off the charts,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “That said, it’s not a reason to buy the whole sector. Retail is still an individual company story.”
The positive data were released a day after the Federal Reserve felt confident enough in the economy to raise interest rates for the third time this year.