S&P trades near record levels after inflation reading
The major averages are higher at midday, but with modest moves, after the S&P 500 rose yesterday to close at another new all-time high. Inflation remains an underlying concern despite assurances from Fed Chair Powell that the central bank can keep it under control and the PPI report this morning showed that inflation is in fact running hot at the moment.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the producer price index beat estimates with huge March gains of 1.0% for the headline and 0.7% for the core excluding food and energy. Wholesale sales dropped 0.8% in February, and inventories increased 0.6%, both of which were a little firmer than analysts forecast.
TOP NEWS: Boeing (BA) shares were 1% lower near noon after the planemaker recommended to 16 customers that they address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 MAX airplanes prior to further operations. While the company noted only the number of customers impacted, not the number of planes, Reuters said it was told by sources that the 737 MAX issue impacts around 90 aircraft.
Eyes are on Amazon (AMZN) as workers at the company's warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama have voted not to unionize. Bloomberg said this morning that while counting of the votes in Amazon's warehouse was continuing, the company had enough votes to ensure its victory with enough "no" votes against the unionization effort. The company subsequently announced that less than 16% of the employees at BHM1 voted to join the RWDSU union, adding that it is "easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true."
Meanwhile, shares of Crown Holdings (CCK) rose 2a% after the company agreed to sell its European Tinplate business to KPS Capital Partners. Crown will receive pre-tax proceeds of approximately EUR1.9B from the transaction and will retain a 20% ownership stake in the business.
In COVID-19 news, Reuters reported that the European Medicines Agency is evaluating reports of a bleeding condition in people after receiving AstraZeneca's (AZN) COVID-19 vaccine as well as reviewing Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) shot over reports of rare blood clots. The news follows concerns over the AstraZeneca shot in Spain and Italy as well as reports of mass vaccination sites in North Carolina and Colorado temporarily closing after people reported adverse effects after being given the J&J vaccine.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Affimed (AFMD), which rose 24% after the company announced the initial clinical data evaluating cord blood-derived natural killer cells pre-complexed with Affimed’s innate cell engager AFM113. Also higher was Levi Strauss (LEVI), which gained 2% after the company reported quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Provention Bio (PRVB), which declined 17% after receiving an FDA notification of deficiencies in the Biologic License Application for teplizumab. Also lower was JinkoSolar (JKS), which fell 2% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 102.49, or 0.31%, to 33,606.06, the Nasdaq was up 1.12, or 0.01%, to 13,830.43, and the S&P 500 was up 9.68, or 0.24%, to 4,106.85.