Boeing’s stock weighs on the Dow, while broader market posts modest gains – MarketWatch

U.S. stocks moved modestly higher at the start of trade Tuesday, with the exception of the Dow, which remained under pressure as a fatal plane crash of a Boeing Co. aircraft over the weekend weighed on the blue-chip index.

How are major indexes performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.33%

fell 39 points, or 0.2%, to 25,611, the S&P 500 index

SPX, +0.31%

added 5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,789. The Nasdaq Composite

COMP, +0.33%

 meanwhile, rose 10 points to 7,568, a gain of about 0.1%.

Read: Why a bout of small-cap carnage could be a red flag for stock-market bulls

What’s driving the market?

The S&P and Nasdaq edged higher Tuesday, after all three major benchmarks broke a five-day losing streak on Monday, though the Dow started the day in negative territory, due to the struggles of its largest component, Boeing Co.

BA, -6.20%

Wall Street investors were awaiting a crucial vote in London after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May secured concessions over Brexit from the European Union. Parliament was set to vote later Tuesday on her revised deal to exit from the EU before a deadline to do on March 29. The threat of a so-called hard Brexit, where the country leaves Europe’s trade bloc without an agreement, could roil markets here and abroad.

On Monday, investors focused on analyst upgrades to shares of Apple Inc.

AAPL, +1.87%

and a multibillion-dollar technology merger in Nvidia Corp.

NVDA, +0.60%

and Mellanox Technologies Ltd.

MLNX, +0.14%

 to snap a losing streak. In doing so, investors shook off worries produced by a fatal crash of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 plane, which resulted in the death of 157 people near Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and raised worries about flight systems within that model jet.

Although, the Federal Aviation Authority declared the 737 Max models airworthy, more regulators have decided to ground the planes, including those in Australia, Singapore and Latin America, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Separately, reports indicate progress on a Sino-American trade deal, with China and the U.S. reportedly close to a deal on currencies—an element in their broader trade dispute.

What data and speakers are in focus?

The consumer-price index rose by 0.2% in February following three months of no change, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Core prices, which strip out volatile changes in the cost of food an energy rose 0.1%.

Year-over-year, overall inflation fell from growth of 1.6% in January to 1.5%, while annual core inflation fell from 2.2% to 2.1%.

Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard spoke earlier Tuesday at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s Just Economy Conference in Washington, D.C., on the topic of reforming Community Reinvestment Act regulations.

Earlier Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business optimism index inched higher in February after hitting in January the worst levels since the 2016 presidential election. The optimism index rose 0.5 point to 101.7, with 5 out of the 10 components increasing, led by a 5-point gain in those who expect the economy to improve. It nonetheless was the second-worst reading since Dec. 2016.

What other stocks are in focus?

Shares of Boeing were down 4%, after falling 5.4% on Monday. Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.

DKS, -11.60%

shares were in focus Tuesday, after the retailer reported a 6.3% decline in fourth-quarter sales, better than analysts expected, while also beating profit estimates. The stock fell 7.7% early Monday.

Shares of Tesla Inc.

TSLA, -2.90%

were active after lawyers for the electric-maker’s CEO Elon Musk, defended a recent tweet from the outspoken executive, accusing the Securities and Exchange Commission of overreaching and infringing on Musk’s right of free speech. Shares in the company fell 2.4%

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.

HPE, -3.69%

stock fell 2.7% Monday morning, after UBS Group AG

UBS, -0.17%

downgraded the stock, citing headwinds to growth of its cloud business.

Shares of F5 Networks Inc.

FFIV, -7.59%

are also under pressure due to a downgrade, after J.P. Morgan cut its rating on the stock, which was 6.8% Monday.

What are strategists saying?

“Brexit and Boeing are the major drivers of headlines this morning,” wrote Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group, in a note to clients.

“Regarding Brexit, while things looked promising ahead of today’s vote after last night’s deal between PM May and EU President Juncker, reality has set in overnight, and the prospects of the deal passing a vote in Parliament aren’t looking entirely promising at this point,” he wrote.

“Boeing continues to be a big story this morning as the stock is down” after several national regulators grounded all flights of the 737 max, he noted.

“In economic news, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Survey increased versus January but came in lighter than expected, while CPI was right in line with forecasts at both the headline and core,” Hickey wrote.

How did U.S. stocks fare yesterday?

On Monday, the Dow rose 200.64 points, or 0.8%, to 25,650.88. The blue-chip index had fallen more than 200 points earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 gained 40.23 points, or 1.5%, to 2,783.30, with the information technology sector up 2.2%. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 149.92 points, or 2%, to 7,558.06, logging its best day on a percentage basis since Jan. 30.

How are other markets trading?

Stock markets in Asia rallied on Tuesday, with Japan’s Nikkei 225

NIK, +1.79%

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

HSI, +1.46%

and China’s Shanghai Composite Index

SHCOMP, +1.10%

all adding more than 1%.

European stocks, meanwhile, were trading lower, as the Stoxx Europe 600

SXXP, +0.02%

was down 0.1% Tuesday.

In commodity markets, the price of crude oil

CLJ9, +0.92%

rose solidly. The price of gold

CLJ9, +0.92%

meanwhile, edged higher while the U.S. dollar

DXY, -0.13%

lost ground against its peers.

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