Bank and tech shares helped lead Wall Street higher on Monday, while Boeing and Facebook were a drag as the Street kept a wary eye on the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting for affirmation of its commitment to “patient” monetary policy.
Following the S&P 500’s best week since November, the benchmark index ended the session to about 3.3 percent below its all-time high reached in September. All three major equity indexes ended the trading day in the black.
The Dow’s fourth straight advance ran into headwinds from Boeing, which fell 1.8 percent as the company faced increasing scrutiny following the fatal crash in Ethiopia. The decline extended last week’s 10.3 percent drop and was the heaviest weight on the blue-chip index.
The Fed’s two-day policy meeting begins on Tuesday. It is likely the Fed will reinforce its dovish approach toward further interest rate hikes.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, eight closed in the black, with energy, consumer discretionary and financial companies enjoying the largest percentage gains.
The prospect of extended OPEC supply cuts sent crude prices to four-month highs, which boosted energy companies, while news of upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs), notably from ride-hailing service Lyft, sent the banking sector higher.
The communications services sector was the largest percentage loser, weighed down by Facebook. Facebook shares were down 3.4 percent after the European Commission’s deputy head said, “at some point, we will have to regulate” big tech and social media companies to protect citizens. Needham downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy.”
Apple surprised investors with the launch of new iPad devices ahead of the company’s expected March 25 launch of a content streaming service. The stock ended the trading day up 1.0 percent.
Shares of Apple supplier Synaptics fell 22.6 percent after Mizuho downgraded it to “neutral” from “buy.”
Goldman Sachs and Citigroup advanced 2.1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, on a report that the banks are helping Germany’s two biggest lenders with a potential merger worth more than $28 billion.
Amazon gained 1.7 percent, leading the consumer discretionary sector’s advance.
Approximately 6.84 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges on Monday, as compared to the 7.54 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.
Tariffs Causing Real Pain
Heavy equipment manufacturers are raising prices, losing sales and in some cases beginning to trim workers in response to the Trump administration’s protracted trade disputes with various countries, according to a new report.
Advocates of tariffs point to continued job growth and low overall inflation as proof that tariffs are not harming these manufacturers, which include global producers such as Caterpillar, Alamo Group and Terex Corp.
However, an economic analysis conducted on behalf the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and set to be released on Monday by IHS Markit, notes that increased costs and the disruption of supply chains will slowly filter through the overall economy, gradually raising prices for finished goods and curbing employment over the next decade.
Caterpillar, a key component of the Dow, has said tariffs cost the company $100 million last year.
The study notes heavy equipment makers are particularly exposed to higher steel prices. Accounting for all steel used – both directly by these manufacturers and the parts they buy from others – the material represents 18.5 percent of the cost of a farm machine and 25.8 percent for mining machines.
The Section 232 tariffs imposed by Washington hit most foreign suppliers of metals, which have prompted retaliatory duties from many of those countries.