Stocks continue to set record highs as tax reform and strong economic data fuel to flames of pecuniary emoluments. At the close the Dow was up 80 points at 24,585 on higher trading volume.
The Federal Reserve upped its short term interest rates from 1% to 1.25% with a 2018 target of 2.1%. Banks followed along and raised prime lending rates to 4.5%. In her statement Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that bitcoin was speculative, tax reform will boost the economy and the job market is strong.
The US International Trade Commission or ITC has voted 4-0 on two issues related to cheap lumber imports. One issue dealt with Canadian lumber and the other was Chinese hardwood plywood. The votes finalized the tariffs placed on Canadian imports and imposes a 183% anti-dumping duty and a 194% countervailing duty on China. The ITC vote affirms that cheap lumber imports harmed US mills and workers. Random Lengths reported that mills in the NW and Canada are facing a log shortage and Moody’s noted that lumber demand and pricing in the US would be “credit positive” for both Canadian and US mills meaning that high lumber prices will more than offset the duty on Canadian imports. Moody’s also noted that strong pricing and demand for lumber should be positive for timberland owners in 2018.
Blue Origin, the rocket venture owned by Jeff Bezos, tested another rocket and it was a success. Blue Origin is a smaller rocket (think Smart car) targeting low orbit whereas SpaceX and Boeing (think Ford F 350) carry big pay loads farther into space. The cost of launching a satellite used to be $200+ million but Boeing brought that down to $50 million and now it appears SpaceX has cut that figure to $20 million. Here is a video of the BO launch and recovery on our Facebook page. Credit goes to Geekwire.