Stocks were up over 200 points early during amateur hour but then faded a bit before the closing bell and finished with a 140-point gain at 25,658. Trading volume was lower. Real-estate stocks were higher, and some gurus are liking the trends they are seeing with real-estate as interest rates pull back and the Fed softens its stance on raising rates.
After surging in January, housing starts fell 8.7% in February coming in worse than expected and continuing a trend of volatility in housing that started a few months ago. The main reason for the slowdown is not clear although some feel it is tied to a labor shortage since the number of homes “authorized yet not started” hit the highest level since 2007 and the number of “units under construction” was also near a post-recession high. On a year over year basis, single family housing starts are down 10.6% largely due to a surge in last year’s post hurricane rebuild effort. Housing prices were up 5.6% year over year and while this is good the growth rate of price increases is slowing. The data in the report also revealed that most of the slowdown is occurring in states where the SALT deduction limit is having the biggest impact.
It is being reported that Airbus has won a long sought-after jet order from China by booking a deal for 290 A320’s and 10 A350’s. The deal is worth over $35 billion and ends an order draught for Airbus. Meanwhile over at the Lazy B, gurus are expecting a software fix for the 737 Max aircraft to be forthcoming in a few days. The company rolled out the software fix on January 21st and the FAA has been testing it since that time both in simulators and test aircraft. Tomorrow Boeing will host a meeting to talk about the upgrade with over 200 pilots from across the fruited plain.