Stock index futures rose after the markets closed on Thursday evening and the Senate announced the passage of a bill targeted at creating jobs by boosting small businesses around the country.
Dow Jones Industrial Average index futures jumped 8 points to 10,554.00 at 6:09 p.m. EST, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 4.75 points to 1,954.50 at 6:13 p.m.
S&P 500 futures climbed just 1.5 points to 1,124.10.
Business-owners will benefit from $12 billion in tax cuts, including a 100 percent exclusion of capital gains taxes on small business investments during 2010. The maximum deduction for start-up expenditures in 2010 and 2011 will rise $5,000 to a total $10,000, while an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act bonus depreciation scheme will extend for an additional year.
For longer-term stimulus, the government will create a $30 billion lending fund, which the government hopes will break through the logjam of frozen private-sector credit.
Despite massive government stimulus spending and support for major banks, lending has contracted sharply in the wake of the credit crisis. Vast oceans of liquidity are frozen in banks' coffers, and businesses struggle to acquire both short-term and long-term financing.
The chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Mary Landrieu (a Louisiana Democrat), said, "The passage of this bill is a long-awaited victory for the 27 million small businesses in America. Upon signature by the President, these businesses will benefit from $12 billion in immediate tax cuts … It is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do."
The vote was 61-38, more or less along strictly partisan lines. Two Republicans crossed their party lines to vote for the bill, but the party as a whole slammed it as a "Mini-TARP," in an effort to remind voters of the highly controversial "Troubled Assets Relief Program" created in late 2008 to stem the financial crisis.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Washington's major groups representing small business interests, focused on trying to get the bill to overturn a controversial 1099 income reporting provision from the healthcare reform bill, reported the Los Angeles Times. Their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.
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