* Senate passes budget plan that could pave the way for tax cuts
* Tech stocks rebound; bank stocks gain
* GE dips after weak results, disappointing forecast
* PayPal jumps after upbeat earnings forecast
* Indexes up: Dow 0.20 pct, S&P 0.26 pct, Nasdaq 0.36 pct (Updates to open)
By Sruthi Shankar
Oct 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks inched higher on Friday as bank stocks rose and tech stocks recovered, with investor optimism back as Trump administration cleared a hurdle to lower taxes.
Bank of America’s 2 percent gain was the biggest boost to the S&P. Apple led the gains in the technology index as it rose 0.60 percent after falling 2.5 percent on Thursday.
The Republican-controlled Senate approved a budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year in a pursuit to legislate the tax-cut package without Democratic support.
Hopes of tax cuts have helped the market rally, as companies expect the move to lift economic growth and inflation.
“The good thing is we’re seeing incremental positives as we move toward tax cuts,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
Third-quarter earnings season is under way, with 73 percent of the 74 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far beating expectations.
“We’ve got more good news than bad on the earnings front, economic data that’s been fairly consistent, yield that’s stuck around 2.3 (percent) and oil prices around $52. That’s all consistent with the market that’s doing the slow grind higher,” Hogan said.
The Dow and the S&P 500 turned higher to close at record levels on Thursday after a Politico report said Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell is the leading candidate for Fed chair.
At 9:41 a.m. ET (1341 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 45.34 points, or 0.2 percent, at 23,208.38, the S&P 500 was up 6.78 points, or 0.26 percent, at 2,568.88 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 25.92 points, or 0.39 percent, at 6,630.99.
Seven of the 11 major S&P were higher, led by a 0.81 percent gain in the financial index as bank stocks rose, tracking a jump in U.S. Treasury yields.
PayPal’s 5.6 percent rise on upbeat earnings also helped a rebound in tech stocks.
General Electric shares tanked about 3.71 percent after the industrial conglomerate reported a profit miss and slashed its earnings forecast.
Procter & Gamble dipped 3.45 percent after the company’s sales narrowly missed estimates.
Skechers USA surged more than 30 percent after reporting better-than-expected profit, largely helped by international sales growth.
Celgene dipped about 10 percent after the company said it would abandon testing a drug to treat Crohn’s disease.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,681 to 901. On the Nasdaq, 1,743 issues rose and 675 fell. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)