Stocks continue to trade like a roller coaster with triple digit swings occurring during the day. Traders are loving this environment as volatility increases their chances to make hay. Earnings continue to come in strong with over 76% of reports beating estimates. At the close the Dow was up 59 points to 24,082 on lighter trading volume. IBD has put market sentiment back to “rally under pressure” as price swings can quickly erase a rally or a selloff.
Shares of Boeing were higher after the company reported results that were better than expected. By that logic however the stock should have sold off given what happened to other companies that reported stellar numbers yesterday. But I digress. Boeing’s revenue was up 6% and its bottom line profit figure was up 68%. The company sold a record 763 aircraft last year and CEO Dennis “The Menace” Muilenburg told the gurus that Boeing was increasing cash flow, earnings and revenue guidance given the production increases and strong trends seen in the first quarter. Boeing had 221 net orders in Q1 and kicked 184 finished airplanes out the door which was 9% higher than last year. The backlog remains just over 5,300 airplanes. The defense segment saw a 13% increase while services were higher by 8% and the commercial segment was up 5%.
In a boost to the transportation sector, Norfolk Southern, the 4th largest railroad in the country reported a 6% revenue increase and a 30% net income gain for the quarter. "We're seeing some of the strongest volumes that we've seen on our network, really in over 10 years….," CEO Jim “Choo Choo” Squires told Wall Street on the conference call. Shares were higher on the news.
Some good news regarding the opioid crisis was issued today by an outfit called the IQVIA Insittute for Human Data Science. IQVIA reported a decline in opioid prescriptions by 12% in 2017 which is the biggest drop in 25 years. Economists looked at this data and figured that a potential increase in the labor force participation rate would result in 10,000 or more workers added back into the labor pool. In 2016 the opioid crisis claimed more than 42,000 lives and hopefully the trend of loosing good people to this drug problem will abate.