Stocks continue to trade mixed as tariff and trade war issues are being nervously watched by traders, economists and investors. Driving the Dow lower today was shares of Boeing which some feel will be hurt first if a trade war with China breaks out. The gurus feel that volatility will stay high until more color comes out regarding trade issues. At the close the Dow was off 248 points on heavy trade at 24,758. While the Dow was down 1% the NASDAQ was down only 0.19% on lighter volume indicating that markets remain choppy and some sectors are favored over others.
In economic news the Commerce Department reported that retail sales declined 0.1% in the latest reading. On the downside were autos, retail stores and gas stations while building materials, online sales and restaurants all posted improving retail activity. This report missed expectations and is the third month in a row of declining retail activity. On a year over year basis retail sales are up 4%. Meanwhile, U.S. producer prices increased slightly more than expected in February. The Department of Labor said on Wednesday that its producer price index rose 0.2% last month; economists polled by Reuters had expected PPI gaining 0.1%.
Things at scouts are going well. The lunkheads had a good trip in the snow to Fish Lake near Lake Wenatchee. They attempted to ice fish but did not have much luck. Our next outing later this month is to Shaw Island for a campout. BSA is moving ahead with a plan to allow girls into troops and is opening up rank advancements as well but they are leaving local troops to figure out how to implement the plan in a way that suits each individual unit. My suggestion was to attempt a hostile takeover of a local Girl Scout troop but the idea was rejected by our troop committee. Some feared it would spark a trade war and jeopardize our access to Girl Scout cookies.