U.S. equities finished mixed to start the week, as investors appeared cautious ahead of the unofficial start to Q1 earnings season later this week, a loaded economic calendar that begins to heat up tomorrow, and as a U.S.-China trade deal remains uncertain. Industrials weighed on the Dow, as shares of Boeing fell after announcing a production cut of its 737 MAX airplanes. Treasuries dipped amid a decline in factory orders, and the U.S. dollar was lower, while crude oil prices notched gains to levels not seen in five months and gold gained ground.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 84 points (0.3%) to 26,341, the S&P 500 Index was up 3 points (0.1%) at 2,896, and the NASDAQ Composite increased 15 points (0.2%) to 7,954. In moderate volume, 744 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.0 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil gained $1.32 to $64.40 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was up $0.02 at $1.99 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price increased $5.89 to $1,297.65 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.4% lower at 97.05.
Factory orders decreased 0.5% month-over-month (m/m) in February, matching the Bloomberg expectation, and compared to January’s downwardly-revised flat reading. Stripping out the volatile transportation component, orders rose 0.3%, versus January’s favorably-revised 0.1% dip. Final durable goods orders were unrevised at a 1.6% drop m/m for February, and compared to January’s 0.1% rise. Ex-transportation, orders were down 0.1% m/m, matching January’s decline. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a proxy for business spending, were unrevised at a 0.1% decrease versus January’s 0.9% gain.
Treasuries were lower, as the yields on the 2-year and 10-year notes, along with the 30-year bond, gained 2 bps to 2.35%, 2.52% and 2.92%, respectively.
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