Markets got a lift as the threat of a trade war seem less likely….today. The Dow gained 428 points and closed at an even 24,408 on lower than normal volume. Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, in a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia, stated that China will work to open up its markets for trade listing financial markets, manufacturing, property rights and intellectual property rights as areas where changes will be made. One area of improvement will be the easing of tariffs on auto imports. This tidbit of news sent shares of Tesla, Ford and GM higher. When the US ships a car to China it pays a 25% tariff while a car coming from China to the US only pays a 2.5% tariff. China is busy these days. Russian is currently building a huge 3,000 mile natural gas pipeline to China which is expected to be operational in 2019. At the same time this speech was made China filed a complaint with the WTO against US tariffs on steel and aluminium.
NAFTA 2.0, or “SHAFTA” as labor union leaders like to call it, appears headed toward the finish line as negotiators are making progress. Mexico’s Economic Minister ILdefanso Guajardo was optimistic and put the chances of reaching a deal in principle at 80%.
Shares of Boeing shot up after Indonisian air carrier Lion Air ordered 50 of the 737 Max jets for a list price of $6.24 billion smackers. In addition to this order, Lion Air CEO Rusdi “Big Cat” Kirana said they are expecting to sign a memorandum of understanding in the next few weeks for an order of 787 Dreamliners.
“Faceplant” also got a boost as Mark Zuckerberg visited the hill. Shares traded relatively flat for most the day and then increased on heavier volume during his testimony. Tomorrow he’ll continue his D.C. tour and we’ll see if investors like what he has to say then.