Stocks rally…Retail sales rise…Review finds US aircraft approval process effective and safe
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are climbing in morning trading on Wall Street. A solid retail sales report injected more optimism into markets a day after the signing of an initial trade deal between the U.S. and China. Technology companies are leading the way higher. Banks and financial companies are also gaining, along with a mix of retailers and consumer product makers. Utilities and real estate companies are lagging.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Retail sales rose at a solid pace last month, evidence that Americans were willing to spend during the winter holidays after a sluggish November. The Commerce Department says retail sales increased 0.3% in December from the previous month. Excluding sales at car dealers and gas stations, sales rose 0.5%, the best in five months. Low unemployment and widespread hiring are fueling consumer confidence.
NEW YORK (AP) – Morgan Stanley’s fourth-quarter profits jumped 46% from a year earlier helped by a massive boost from the bank’s trading desks. The financial markets during the last three months of 2019 were good for banks, and Morgan Stanley’s results were no exception. The bank brought in $2.31 billion in trading revenues, a 33% jump from last year. Investment banking revenues were also 14% higher in the quarter.
BEIJING (AP) – China has welcomed the interim trade deal with Washington and said the two sides need to address each other’s “core concerns.” A foreign ministry spokesman says the “Phase 1” agreement shows Beijing and Washington “can find appropriate and effective solutions to relevant issues through dialogue.” China agreed to buy more American farm exports and Washington dropped plans for additional tariff hikes on Chinese goods. Beijing still wants earlier punitive tariffs to be lifted, which the agreement fails to do.
UNDATED (AP) – A government committee reviewing how the Federal Aviation Administration certifies new passenger planes for flight has determined that the system is safe and effective but small changes need to be made. The committee was appointed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in April after two deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 Max. The crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. The committee found in a report released Thursday that the FAA’s system of delegating some inspections to aircraft manufacturers is effective and allows the U.S. industry to thrive. But the findings conflict with legislators who are investigating the crashes.