The US stock market continues to show upward bias amid a storm of news. At the close the Dow was up 148 at 25,702. Trading volume was higher. Dan “the man” over at BTS put out a note saying the markets appear in good shape thanks to a strong labor market and the Fed putting rate hikes on hold for at least the first half of 2019. On 60 Minutes, CBS interviewed Fed Chair Jerome “Pause” Powell who in the interview noted that while the US economy looked good with tame inflation and full employment, he was concerned that things in Europe and Asia were a bit dicey due to issues like Brexit, sluggish German growth and a slowdown in China.
Boeing continues to fly in a storm as Canada grounded the 737 Max while VietJet placed a recent 200 plane order on hold pending the crash investigation. Lion Air is now rumored to be planning on switching a $22 billion order from Boeing to Airbus. The big news however came late in the day when President Trump said the US will also ground all 737 Max 8 and 9 jets. The FAA said that satellite flight tracking data from the crash apparently revealed enough similarities between the Lion Air and Ethiopia crash to warrant the order. US carriers that fly the 737 Max are Southwest, United and American. On the good news front, Lufthansa ordered 20 Boeing 787s and 20 Airbus 350-900s for long haul flights. Boeing shares rallied early but rolled over when news of the US grounding hit the wires but then recovered again as the stock seems to be finding some support at current levels.
The commerce Dept. reported that January construction was up 1.3% vs estimates by gurus calling for a gain of 0.3%. Within the report, home construction was down while nonresidential construction was higher than expected. The biggest jumps in construction spending came from highway construction which was up 5.2% while education construction was higher by 2.2%.