Major benchmarks made small moves on Monday morning, failing to sustain upward momentum from Friday's big rise. Despite hopes for progress on the trade front, it appears that there's still work to do before the U.S. and China will find common ground toward a longer-term deal. As of 11:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 18 points to 26,834. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gave up a point to 2,969, but the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) gained 4 points to 8,061.
Many traders are taking the holiday off, but there were still some intriguing storylines playing out in the markets. Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) saw yet another day of declines as the marijuana stock rout continued. Meanwhile, Boeing (NYSE:BA) made a big change in its board of directors that signals rising frustration within the aerospace company about the long road back toward getting the 737 MAX aircraft line back in production.
Another downgrade for cannabis stocks
Shares of Canopy Growth fell 3% after the Canadian marijuana company got more negative comments from the stock analyst community. Today's gloom came from Seaport Global, which downgraded Canopy from buy to neutral.
Seaport's comments pointed to what it sees as a disparity across international lines. The Canadian cannabis market is dealing with a glut of marijuana and a limited number of established retail outlets for customers to use, and that's putting pressure on the prices that Canopy and its peers can charge for their products. As a result, Seaport sees profit margin levels for the Canadian business falling from here.
Meanwhile, the U.S. market has a number of positives, making it the preferable place for marijuana companies to have exposure. Despite concerns about the vaping epidemic, Seaport thinks that U.S.-focused cannabis stocks will do better.
As with most hot investing trends, marijuana investors are facing a true test of their conviction. Canopy is already down more than 60% from its best levels in 2019, but the question remains whether it will emerge as a long-term leader in the cannabis space or whether it will give way to rivals.
Boeing takes away some of its CEO's power
Shares of Boeing were up almost 1% despite the aerospace giant once again finding itself in the crosshairs of public opinion. With more criticism of the company's development of the 737 MAX aircraft line, Boeing decided to send a signal that its board of directors is paying attention to concerns among investors and the general public.
Boeing's board of directors voted late Friday to replace its chair, naming lead director David Calhoun as non-executive chairman. That sent Dennis Muilenburg, who had been board chair, out of the role. Muilenburg will stay on as CEO, however, and the company said that separating the chair and CEO roles would allow Muilenburg to concentrate on the operational aspects of his primary job.
Muilenburg has been on the hot seat for a while, having to defend Boeing's handling of the 737 MAX and repeatedly providing reassurance that the MAX would get cleared to fly without undue delay. A recent report from an international panel of regulators found fault with both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, laying blame with the FAA's failure to conduct proper oversight during the approval process.
At this point, no one expects the 737 MAX to get off the ground before 2020, and even a reintroduction then remains in doubt. Investors had largely been willing to see the controversy as being short-term in nature, but the longer the MAX stays grounded, the harder it'll be for Boeing to take that approach.