Yesterday, U.S. stocks climbed to record highs after weekly jobless claims declined more than expected. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is treading water, down only five points, or 0.03%, in midafternoon trading. As the market nears an end of a greater year, here are some big-name industrial companies making headlines.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) is one of the Dow's biggest losers today, although it remains the best-performing component for the entire year. Late last week, Cathay Pacific announced it would purchase 21 777-9X airplanes as a part of its future long-haul fleet strategy. The airplane should give the airline an improved payload range while reducing operating costs and environmental emissions. That order rang up a total price tag of $7 billion, but wouldn't be the last Boeing would hear from Cathay Pacific in 2013.

Cathay announced today it has ordered an additional 747-8 Freighter and three 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes from Boeing. The order will deliver an additional $1 billion in value for the aerospace giant.

"Cathay Pacific is a long-standing customer and operator of Boeing's products and services," Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said in a press release. "We value our partnership with Cathay Pacific and are grateful for their enduring confidence in Boeing and our wide-body airplanes."


General Motors will recall 1.5 million vehicles in China. Photo Credit: General Motors

Outside of the Dow Jones, General Motors (NYSE:GM) is recalling nearly 1.5 million vehicles in China due to potential safety issues regarding a fuel pump bracket. The reason behind GM's lofty recall, aside from the safety issue, is that the default affected two high-volume models: the Buick Excelle and Chevrolet Sail.

Investors tend to cringe when huge recalls hit the news feeds, although Yale Zhang, head of a Shanghai-based consulting firm, doesn't think it will hurt General Motors' reputation in the world's largest automotive market.

"There're so many recalls these days, and some automakers call back products proactively more as a precaution. In this case, the recall shouldn't affect GM's reputation in China that much." Zhang said, according to Automotive News.

General Motors wasn't the only global automaker walking on eggshells in China recently. Japanese automakers have finally been recovering after a yearlong backlash regarding a territorial dispute involving their nation's government and China, only to see another potential trouble issue pop up this week.

Shinzo Abe on Thursday became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo since 2006. As the shrine memorializes war dead, including convicted World War II war criminals, some are worried it could escalate tensions between the two countries.

There's definitely reason for Japanese automaker investors to hold their breath after the last Chinese consumer backlash sent their vehicle sales spiraling as much 50% for months.

Ford (NYSE:F) was more than happy to step in during that period and offer a substitute vehicle for unhappy Chinese consumers. Ford's sales surged 51% in China this year through November to a record of more than 840,000 deliveries. The situation has definitely given Ford a boost toward its goal to double its market share to 6% by 2015. If Abe's recent visit stirs up more consumer resentment toward Japan's automakers, Ford could once again benefit while it continues to launch many new vehicles -- including the entire Lincoln brand -- in China by mid-decade.

Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. 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.