The Dow was up 34 points today to 16,899 on mixed volume.
Moody’s Investors Service cut the outlook on China’s government credit ratings to negative from stable, citing rising government debts, declining foreign reserves and doubts about authorities’ “capacity to implement reforms.” Chinese markets brushed off the news and were higher on the day as they followed the lead of US market’s “Super Tuesday” performance.
It was a sad day as ex Chesapeake Energy co founder and CEO Aubrey McClendon died in a car wreck in Oklahoma. He was 56. While Aubrey was an ever active and controversial figure he was a true “maverick” when it came to the oil business. He is the guy who took the risk of fracking a gas well in the Haynesville shale formation of Louisiana in 2006 and the resulting gusher shocked the energy world and was referred to as “a game changer” and even “divine intervention” because it set the stage for the US to be energy independent and free from OPEC. He is also the bum who helped take the Seattle Sonics to Oklahoma City. Like the famous poem, Aubrey can say “Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not here, I do not sleep…”.
The Department of Commerce announced it was imposing tariffs of up to 266% on cold rolled steel imports. The tariffs affect China, Brazil, India, South Korea, Japan and Britain. Shares of US based steel companies were higher on the news. These companies have been whacked by cheap imports from countries that have devalued their currencies. Will this move spark the building of a planned yet delayed steel pipe factory in McCleary, WA?
WTI crude was up 1.4% today at $34.89 even despite a gubment report showing crude inventories rose 10.4 million barrels to a record high of 518 million. Gold was up $11.5 an ounce to $1,242.