Shares of Boeing pushed the Dow higher after the company announced a 20% dividend hike. Adding to upside pressure was a report from Bloomberg that Senate Republicans may have completed the tax bill reconciliation process. The Dow shot up like a 737 and hit a new high at 24,504 up 118 on heavy trade. The NASDAQ meanwhile fell a bit at the close as money continues to rotate from tech to financials, materials and airlines.
The FOMC meeting kicks off today and gurus are expecting the fed to come through with a quarter point increase in short term interest rates. An announcement should come tomorrow around noon when Fed Chair Janet Yellen breaks for lunch.
Small business optimism hit a 34 year high in the latest reading by the National Federation of Independent Business survey. The index rose 4.7 points to 107.5 which is the highest reading since 1983. 48% of business’s in the index expect better business conditions in the next 6 months.
Energy markets in Europe are under pressure due to a confluence of events. An explosion at a major Russian gas import pipeline hub in Austria coupled with colder than normal temps across Europe have caused Nat gas prices in Europe to jump 15% to 20%. Britain now pays over $9 per MBTUs compared to here in the US where gas is going for about $2.70 per MBTUs.
CleanTech News had an interesting article on bitcoin and its effect on electricity demand. Find it here. The article is lengthy but the first few paragraphs talk about the future being “electric” in part because crypto currencies rely on electricity to function. Utilities might be a winner here just like the folks who sold picks, bacon and shovels to the Alaska gold rush guys in the 1890’s.