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Stocks - Boeing Boosts Dow While Investors Await Powell

Investing.com – Investors are betting big on Boeing (NYSE:BA) for now, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the beneficiary on Thursday.

The Dow finished the day up 0.2%, or about 50 points. But Boeing's shares were up more than 4.3% and added nearly 98 points to the blue-chip index by itself.

At the same time, the S&P 500 slipped a very modest 0.05% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.36%.

Boeing) was surging because of its Tuesday announcement that it is marshaling a temporary workforce of several hundred workers to help get 737 Max jetliners back into service once the FAA and others agree that its fixes to the jet's problems will work.

Boeing thinks that the approval will come some time in the fourth quarter, perhaps by Thanksgiving. It might be early 2020 before the planes are in service again.

Boeing has an outsized effect on the Dow because, purely on a dollar basis, it is the blue-chip index's priciest stock. So, any big move in its shares has a huge effect on the average.

The rest of the stock market was marking time Thursday. Half the Dow stocks were higher, in fact.

Traders, money managers and investors seemed to be waiting for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the Fed's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. on Friday. What many investors - and President Donald Trump - want to hear is a signal the Fed will cut rates aggressively to preempt an economic slowdown. Powell, so far, has been reluctant to commit to a big rate cut.

Interest rates moved higher on the day, ahead of the speech. The key 10-Year Treasury yield rose to 1.617% from 1.577% on Wednesday.

The spread between the 10-year and 2-year yields slipped to 4.21 basis basis points from 4.3 basis points on Wednesday and inverted once again in morning trading.

Oil prices were modestly lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 33 cents to $55.35 a barrel. Brent oil futures fell 38 cents to $59.92. Gold futures fell $7.20 to $1,508.50.

There were some negatives in the market. Nine of the 11 S&P 500 sectors were lower, with materials and health care stocks faring the worst.

The IHS U.S. manufacturing index fell below 50 in July, suggesting a slowdown.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) fell 3.1% and is off 5% so far this week and 4.5% this quarter, despite a bullish second-quarter earnings report in July and strong guidance. The health-insurance giant's decline subtracted 50 points from the Dow.

But Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) shares led the S&P 500 with a 15.8% gain after second-quarter earnings were better than expected. Sales declined, however.

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