Fed Minutes Hit the Feeds, and Ford Unleashes Its Edge Concept

The consumer-price index, a key measure of inflation, fell 1% in October from September's reading, according to the Labor Department. So far this year the overall gain remains well below the Federal Reserve's annual inflation target, although that didn't deter the Federal Open Market Committee from saying it still expects to dial down its bond-purchasing program within a few months, according to October meeting minutes released at 2 p.m. EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) took a dip after the Fed minutes hit the headlines, but is only down 0.35%. Regardless of when the Fed's tapering takes place, and the volatility it creates, investors should continue to focus on solid business for stock opportunities. Speaking of which, here are two industrial juggernauts making headlines this week.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) has done more than its fair share of leading the Dow higher this year, up more than 85%, but the airplane maker is taking a breather today and is the index's biggest loser, down 2.8%. There have been major Boeing headlines over the last week, some good and some bad.

Boeing's 777 during takeoff, the predecessor to the 777X. Photo credit: Boeing.

Let's look at the good news first. Boeing dominated the start of the five-day Dubai Airshow, bringing in more than $100 billion in orders on the first day alone. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner received an order that put it past its 1,000-sale milestone, but it was the 777X's debut that stole the show. Boeing chalked up $95 billion in orders for 259 777X aircraft on the first day of the air show That will be tacked onto Boeing's already enormous $415 billion order backlog.

Now, the bad news. Investors continue to take in the meaning of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers', or IAMAW, rejection of Boeing's contract extension in its Everett, Wash., plant. According to Boeing, workers' concessions to their pension plans would help keep the company competitive and healthy. Union approval of the deal would have secured an estimated 56,000 jobs for another two decades -- a clearly significant decision.

After the union voted against Boeing's offer by a two-thirds majority, Boeing is now considering moving production of its 777X to another location; South Carolina has emerged as a primary option.

For a history lesson, consider that roughly four years ago Boeing threatened to open a second 787 production line in South Carolina unless the same union agreed not to strike for a full decade. Union workers stood their ground, and Boeing wasn't bluffing. It headed to South Carolina. After its recent rejected offer, Boeing will again decide if it was bluffing and will choose the production site for its 777X within three months.

Outside the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Ford (NYSE: F  ) has just unveiled its new Edge concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show. While the production vehicle may slightly differ, Ford has a very solid track record of its concept vehicles being very real representations of the final product.


Ford's Edge concept vehicle unveiled in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Ford.

According to HIS Automotive, global utility vehicle sales grew 45% between 2007 and 2012, as larger, gas-guzzling SUVs were replaced by smaller rides with better fuel economy. The change has resonated with consumers and the midsize SUV is the second-fastest-growing segment in the U.S. auto market.

While the original Edge concept was primarily sold in the U.S., the next version will be aimed for a much larger audience. Ford is hoping to clone the global success its Escape has had overseas.

"The original Ford Edge offered customers in North America a fresh, compelling choice for an accommodating, efficient and safe medium utility vehicle," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's executive vice president and president of the Americas, in a press release. "The next-generation Edge -- previewed in the Ford Edge Concept -- will build on these cornerstones to create a global vehicle with technology to make life easier, and design and craftsmanship to appeal to customers around the globe."

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