The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) declined by roughly a quarter of a percentage point today -- its first loss of the month. However, the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) did manage to extend its March winning streak -- by a hair's breadth -- with a 0.02% gain. The Dow's eight-day streak is the longest since February 2011. For a discussion of the potential significance of winning streaks, let me refer you to yesterday's column.
Consistent with a decline in the broad market, the VIX (VOLATILITYINDICES:^VIX), Wall Street's fear gauge, dropped 6% to close at 12.26. (The VIX is calculated from S&P 500 option prices and reflects investor expectations for stock market volatility over the coming 30 days.)
Boeing shares aren't levitating
I have been marveling at the resilience in Dow component Boeing's (NYSE:BA) share price since the beginning of the 787 Dreamliner crisis, which began with a fire at Boston's Logan airport in early January. See for yourselves:
Boeing's stock is actually beating the market -- in a rallying market, no less! Let me remind you that regulators worldwide grounded the Dreamliner -- Boeing's "next generation" flagship aircraft -- on safety concerns after a series of incidents that originated with the plane's lithium-ion batteries.
Perhaps the share performance isn't simply the product of rose-tinted glasses after all. This morning, the Irish Independent reported that low-cost airline Ryanair has placed a massive $18 billion order for 200 787s. According to the report, President Obama and the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, are set to confirm the order next week. On the back of this news, Boeing shares rose almost 1.5% today, to close at $84.16 -- their highest closing value since November 2007. I continue to think Boeing and investors may be underestimating the delay in getting the 787 Dreamliner back in the air, but I have to give it to the market: The shares' resilience no longer looks like luck ... of the Irish.