The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up following some mixed economic reports. As of 1:25 p.m. EST, the Dow is up 131 points, or 0.94%, to 14,032. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up 1% to 1,512.

There were two U.S. economic releases today.





Durable-goods orders




Durable-goods orders ex-transportation




Pending home sales




Source: MarketWatch U.S. Economic Calendar.

First up, the Department of Commerce reported that durable-goods manufacturers' new orders fell a seasonally adjusted 5.2% in January from $228.8 billion to $217 billion. That's far below December's growth of 3.7%. The main culprit was aircraft and transportation equipment. Transportation equipment orders were down 20%, nondefense aircraft orders were down 34%, and defense aircraft sales were down 64%. The transportation sector can be very volatile, so it's good to also consider the numbers excluding transportation.

Durable-goods orders excluding transportation were actually up a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in January, exceeding December's 1% growth. This is a positive sign for the economy, as it shows that companies are investing in production assets to help expand their businesses. It remains to be seen whether the economy is really kicking into a higher gear or this is simply pent-up spending by companies that were afraid to spend in November and December due to the fiscal cliff.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported that its pending-home-sales index rose 4.5% in January to 105.9 from 101.3 in December. Year over year, the index is up 9.5%. The pending-home-sales index is seen as a two-month leading indicator for existing-home sales and is based on signed real-estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. The measurement is based on the average level of contract activity during 2001, which equals the index level of 100.

US Pending Home Sales Index Chart

US Pending Home Sales Index data by YCharts.

The positive pending-home-sales index adds to yesterday's good news in the housing market. Yesterday the Department of Commerce reported that new-home sales hit a seasonally adjusted four-year high in January. On top of that, both the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index were both up, signaling a strengthening housing market.

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is Boeing (NYSE:BA), up 2.7%. It's a bit of a surprise to see Boeing up, given the Department of Commerce's report of terrible new-orders numbers for aircraft. One possible explanation for Boeing's outperformance is that the company's chief competitor, Airbus parent company EADS, reported better-than-expected revenue and earnings this morning. EADS reported revenue of 56.5 billion euros, up 15 percent from last year and above analyst expectations of 54.9 billion euros.

While Boeing has been going through some well-publicized problems with its new Dreamliner 787, any project as large as the Dreamliner will always have some growing pains. Airbus has since worked through the problems it encountered with its A380 aircraft last year. I wholeheartedly expect Boeing to work through the battery problems with the Dreamliner, one way or another.

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.