Mar 12, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Boeing Co. is facing a wider crisis of confidence in its crucial 737 Max plane following the weekend crash in Ethiopia, with Singapore and Australia temporarily blocking the best-selling model from their airspace. Indonesia’s Lion Air, one of the biggest customers for the jet, is considering switching to the Airbus SE’s A320 family amid plans to suspend existing orders it has with the U.S. plane maker. The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday signaled its confidence in the 737 Max, as there isn’t yet conclusive evidence to link Sunday’s crash with a fatal Lion Air disaster in October. Shares in Boeing were lower again this morning in pre-market trading.
British Prime Minister Theresa May secured some concessions from the EU yesterday ahead of tonight’s vote in Parliament on the deal. Over the course of today, traders will watch for comments from the pro-Brexit wing of the Conservative Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, and the opinion of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox on the legal guarantees won by the prime minister to assess whether there is enough support to pass the deal. The British pound rallied strongly yesterday evening, and seems set for a wild ride, no matter what the outcome later.
U.S. and Chinese trade representatives held further talks over critical issues in a phone call overnight, with China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reporting that arrangements were agreed for the next stage of negotiations. Chinese officials remain wary of President Donald Trump’s request for Xi Jinping to fly to the U.S. to finalize the deal as they fear Xi may be embarrassed by an unpredictable Trump, or forced into a last-minute concession. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that a date still hasn’t been set for the meeting.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.1 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.5 percent higher with technology stocks leading the gains. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time as investors await the result of the Brexit vote in London later. S&P futures pointed to a small rise at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.666 percent and gold was higher.
At 8:30 a.m. U.S. inflation data for February is released, with economists expecting the key core reading to hold unchanged at 2.2 percent for the fourth month in a row. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sends its semi-annual report to Congress later. For oil investors, all eyes are on Houston, Texas, where the great and the good of the industry are meeting at the CERAWeek conference.