* Wal-Mart hits record high after results; Cisco rallies
* House passes U.S. tax bill, battle shifts to Senate
* VIX on track for first decline in six days
* Dow up 0.83 pct, S&P 500 up 0.86 pct, Nasdaq up 1.38 pct (Updates prices, adds tax bill vote, changes comment, byline)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes rose sharply on Thursday boosted by earnings-related gains in Wal-Mart and Cisco, while a tax bill expected to boost corporate earnings passed its first - if smallest - hurdle.
Wal-Mart surged as much as 10.7 percent to a record high of $99.41 after reporting its strongest U.S. revenue growth since 2009 and soaring online sales. It was last up 10.1 percent at $98.86.
Cisco touched $36.67, its highest since February 2001, a day after quarterly profit beat expectations driven by gains from its newer businesses such as security, which more than offset declines in its traditional switches and routers. Its profit forecast also came in above estimates.
Cisco shares were recently up 5.7 percent at $36.07.
“There was good news on old line companies Cisco and Walmart adapting to the new economy,” said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago, citing reasons for the market’s advance.
Gains in the session put the S&P and the Dow on course for their biggest percentage rise in more than two months.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted largely along party lines to pass a tax overhaul expected to be a boost to stock prices if it becomes law, but the legislative battle now shifts to the Senate, where the Republican majority is much slimmer.
Republicans can lose no more than two Senate votes and at least two GOP senators have already spoken against the Senate version of the bill.
“The tax plan isn’t a foregone conclusion but it passed the lowest hurdle in the House,” Battle said, adding that the Senate vote will be a higher bar and “the reconciliation will be the real measure, if it happens.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 193.96 points, or 0.83 percent, to 23,465.24, the S&P 500 gained 22.07 points, or 0.86 percent, to 2,586.69 and the Nasdaq Composite added 92.49 points, or 1.38 percent, to 6,798.70.
The CBOE Volatility index, the cost of protection against a sudden drop on the S&P 500, posted its first decline in six days. It dropped 1.3 points to 11.88.
Folgers coffee maker J M Smucker rose 9.4 percent to $116.53 as its sales and profit topped analysts’ forecasts.
Viacom shares fell 3.4 percent at $23.78 after the MTV owner said it expected high single-digit declines in revenue from U.S. cable TV operators and online distributors in the first half of 2018.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.59-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 40 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 111 new highs and 33 new lows. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Nick Zieminski)