The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) continued trading lower this week, down 0.38% in midafternoon trading, despite multiple positive developments. U.S. third-quarter GDP grew at 3.6%, according to a new estimate from the Commerce Department, which was much higher than the original 2.8% growth reading. Meanwhile, initial unemployment claims fell by 23,000 to 298,000 last week, which was below economists' expectations of 320,000. The Dow Jones could be trading lower because some investors fear such positive developments could bring the imminent taper of the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program. With those trends in mind, here are some companies making headlines today.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) is doing its part to boost the Dow today, trading a full percentage point higher. Good news for investors is that, if early orders are any indication, Boeing's next-generation 777X airplane is going to be a huge hit. It dominated the recent Dubai Airshow, garnering roughly $100 billion in orders at list prices. It's a great product, to be sure, and will provide cash-strapped airlines with a 12% savings in fuel cost over any competing aircraft. However, investors want to avoid the kind of production mistakes and delays seen with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
The problems with the 787 arose largely because Boeing moved its production to a new site, which caused issues and delays. Boeing has to avoid that this time, which puts it between a rock and a hard place because the machinists' union at its Everett plant in Washington state, which has knowledge and experience building 777 airplanes, rejected the company's contract offer by a two-thirds majority. Now Boeing has to decide within the next three months if it will keep its production in Washington, regardless of the union action, or risk customer satisfaction by moving to a new site with potential production problems. There is a tax break and incentive war raging between 15 states that would very much welcome Boeing 777X production and accompanying jobs.
Outside of the Dow, Ford (NYSE: F ) has finally unveiled one of its mostly highly anticipated vehicles in years, the 2015 Mustang. Ford had to walk a fine line with its new design. It needed to modernize the vehicle and move past its retro look that didn't resonate with younger consumers.It also needed to abide by Ford's new business strategy to sell all of its vehicles globally, not solely in America as has been the case historically with the Mustang.
Ford's 2015 Mustang may have accomplished just that, although we won't know until sales begin in the fourth quarter of 2014.
"We find globally that everyone wants that piece of Americana," said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer, according to Automotive News. "We designed a Mustang and decided to take it global. We did not design a global Mustang."
A successful gamble to focus on the American consumer, and hope that the global audience buys in, could be a huge win for the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker. It would definitely help Ford gain market share abroad where its Fiesta and Focus lead the charge -- both ranked in the top five nameplates for vehicles sold globally. In addition to its standard V6 and V8 options, which respectively push more than 300 and 420 horsepower, Ford hopes its new 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine option will resonate with consumers wanting improved fuel economy yet still offering the performance of an iconic sports car.
Dividend stocks like Ford and Boeing can make you rich
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