U.S. stocks rose Wednesday, putting the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on track for a third straight day of gains, as investors weighed conflicting data on the U.S. economy with concerns tied to the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.
Shares of Boeing Co. remained in the spotlight in the aftermath of a series of groundings of its 737 Max 8 fleet by regulators outside the U.S.
How are major indexes performing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 170 points, or 0.7%, to 25,725, while the S&P 500 index
added 23 points, or 0.9%, to 2,815. The Nasdaq Composite Index
advanced 67 points, or 0.9%, at 7,658.
What’s driving the market?
U.S. investors continue to parse data on the U.S. economy, with a report on durable goods orders coming in surprisingly strong, following previous reports showing a sharp slowdown in business investment.
The Commerce Department report also showed core capital orders, a key measure of business investment, rising 0.8% in January after falling sharply the two months previous.
The cost of wholesale goods rose 0.1% in February, below the 0.2% increase expected by economists, per a MarketWatch poll. The 12-month increase in producer prices fell from 2.5% to 2.3%, well below last summer’s peak of 3% growth.
U.S. construction spending rose 1.3% in January, the largest increase since April, after a 0.8% decrease in December, the Commerce Department said.
British lawmakers on Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s revised Brexit deal in a 242-391 vote and now are looking at a second vote on whether an exit without a pact with Europe’s trade bloc can be taken off the table before a March 29 deadline. A so-called hard-Brexit scenario has stoked volatility in Britain’s currency and has the potential to unsettle financial markets, experts say.
What are strategists saying?
“The rebound in underlying capital goods orders in January is still consistent with a slowdown in business equipment investment growth in the first quarter, although it suggests that slowdown will not be as sharp as signaled by some of the incoming survey evidence,” wrote Michael Pearce senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics in a note.
“With the February producer price figures showing few signs of a pickup in inflation in the pipeline, there is still a strong case for the Fed to remain patient,” he added.
David Madden market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said the investment climate is “gloomy this morning as Brexit still hangs over the markets. Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement was voted down yesterday, which wasn’t a huge surprise.”
Which stocks are in focus?
shares edged up 0.1%, attempting to snap a seven-day losing streak. A pair of crashes involving its 737 Max 8 jets have weighed on the aviation and defense maker’s stock and the Dow, where it is a key component.
Shares of Rite Aid Corp.
rose 5.1% after the drugstore chain’s Chief Executive John Standley said he would step down.
Shares of Express Inc.
fell 5.3% after the fashion apparel retailer beat fourth-quarter profit expectations but missed on net sales and provided first-quarter outlook that was worse than forecasts.
Take-Two Interactive Software
stock climbed 4.7% on rumors that Sony Corp.
“is in advanced board level discussions to acquire Take-Two Interactive in a mostly cash deal,” that would value the company at $130 share, according to Joel Kulina, head of technology and media trading at Wedbush Securities.
How are other markets trading?
Asian markets closed lower, with Japan’s Nikkei 225
losing 1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
shedding 0.4% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index
European stocks were higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600
The price of oil
continued to rise, while gold
also gained ground. The U.S. dollar
meanwhile, edged lower.
—Mark DeCambre contributed to this report
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