Wall St up as inflation data supports dovish Fed; Boeing slips further

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, Mar 8, 2019. (Reuters pic)

NEW YORK: US stocks rose on Tuesday as benign February inflation data supported the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance on future rate hikes, but Boeing’s fall for a second straight session pressured the Dow.

The Labour Department said its Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2%, in line with estimates, and in the 12 months through February, the CPI rose 1.5%, the smallest gain since September 2016.

“The CPI numbers are suggestive of a patient Fed and ultimately that bodes well for the market,” said Ryan Larson, head of US equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.

“Investors are watching with interest to see the outcome of the Brexit vote today as it has been one of the uncertainties in the market that has been persistent.”

Britain’s exit from the European Union hung in the balance after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said last-minute legally binding assurances won by Prime Minister Theresa May to her divorce deal left the risk over the Irish backstop unchanged.

British lawmakers who rejected May’s withdrawal agreement in January are due to vote on the Brexit deal again at around 3.00pm ET (1900 GMT).

Boeing Co fell 5.2% extending Monday’s drop, as more countries grounded the company’s best selling line of jets following a second fatal crash in five months.

The news weighed on airline stocks. The Dow Jones airlines index dropped 1.38%, while the broader industrial sector fell 0.44% and was the only major S&P sector in the red.

“Markets showed strong resilience in the face of considerable weakness in Boeing yesterday, but there continues to be report after report about various countries suspending flights and investors will be paying attention to that,” Larson said.

The world’s largest planemaker, which is the best performing Dow component this year by a wide margin, fell as much as 13.4% on Monday and weighed on the Dow Jones index.

However the blue-chip Dow pared losses, and all three indexes ended Monday higher boosted by a rally in tech stocks led by Apple Inc.

Apple rose 2% and was the biggest boost to the S&P and Nasdaq, after the iPhone maker invited media to a March 25 event where it is expected to launch a television and video service.

At 10.56am ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 18.67 points, or 0.07%, at 25,632.21, the S&P 500 was up 12.29 points, or 0.44%, at 2,795.59 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 36.20 points, or 0.48%, at 7,594.27.

Coca-Cola Co dipped 0.4% after HSBC downgraded the soda maker’s stock.

F5 Networks Inc slipped nearly 8%, the most on the S&P index, after the network software maker said it would buy privately held NGINX.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.68-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 41 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 38 new highs and 14 new lows.