Dow Flirts with New Record High; Aircraft Orders Take Flight
After taking a breather Monday, the U.S. equity party resumed Tuesday, with the Dow briefly flirting with yesterday's record intraday high of 14,556, rallying to just two points shy of that level in morning trade, before pulling back only slightly. Stocks were boosted out of the gate by a bullish pre-bell February durable goods order report, and continued strength in the S&P/Case-Shiller housing index.
February durable goods orders increased more than expected, generating a 5.7% reading, above the 4.6% gain that economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast. The gain was due primarily to an increase in orders in the transportation sector, particularly aircraft orders.
According to the Commerce Department, commercial aircraft orders surged 95.3% in February, regrouping after a 24% slip in January. Auto orders also rose, by 3.8%. Orders for capital goods declined 2.7%, their largest decline since July. Capital goods orders are important because they give insight into private-sector business investment. Core capital goods shipments, which are used in quarterly economic growth calculations, added 1.9% during the month. Overall, by stripping out the volatile transportation sector, orders fell 0.5% during the month.
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