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US: Crisis weighs on Dow but most stocks advance

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street swung to a split finish on Tuesday, with the crisis facing US aviation giant Boeing dragging down the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average while other indices inched higher.

Investors were comforted by the latest benign reading on US inflation and shrugged off the British parliament's second crushing rejection of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

With global skies increasingly off limits to its top-selling 737 Max aircraft in the wake of Sunday's fatal crash in Ethiopia, Boeing saw its stock tumble 6.1 per cent - leaving it down more than 11 per cent since Friday.

The Dow, where Boeing is heavily weighted, finished with a loss of 0.3 per cent at 25,562.83, after remaining in the red most of the day.

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But the broader S&P gained 0.3 per cent, to close the session at 2,792.00, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.4 per cent to end at 7,591.03.

"The transports are down. The Dow is down. That is mostly due to Boeing," Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital told AFP. "Basically the market is moving higher. The positive momentum is starting to re-emerge in the market."

"The inflation data was a non-event," he added.

The Labor Department reported early on Tuesday that consumer inflation in February hit its slowest annual pace in more than two years due to weak energy prices - reaffirming the dovish stance on interest rates taken by the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, British lawmakers voted to reject an agreement for exiting the European Union, plunging the country into complete uncertainty with just over two weeks to go until its scheduled date of departure and increasing the chances it could crash out without a deal.

"That is not having a major effect before the actual separation between the UK and the EU," Mr Cardillo said.

AFP