Morgans AM: Wednesday 14 March 2018

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US markets weaker as investors digested the latest monthly inflation data - Dow down -172-points or -0.68%, reversing an earlier rally of almost 200-points as General Electric (down -4.44%), American Express (-2.35%) and Microsoft Corp (-2.44%) led the losses. As an aside, it was 32-years ago today that 30-year old Bill Gates watched Microsoft debut on the New York Stock Exchange after floating at a price of US$21.00. At the end of the first day of trading the shares closed at US$31.25, valuing Microsoft at over >US$1B. If you had purchased US$1,000 worth of Microsoft shares at the market open 32-years ago the investment would now be worth ~US$1,026,000 (plus thousands of dollars in dividends paid each year since 2003). The broader S&P500 -0.64%, with the technology and financial sectors the biggest laggards. The technology-centric NASDAQ fell -1.02% to end a seven session winning streak. Investors largely shrugged off news that President Trump's decision to replace US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, coming amid a number of personnel moves by the administration. Trump has nominated Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson. Separately, there are media reports that President Trump is pushing members of his administration to derive new tariffs and trade restrictions on China as part of an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 looking into intellectual property theft.

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