The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gave up its early gain today and was down 14 points by midafternoon as investors waited on minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting to be released. While the market historically trades cautiously before the release, there really shouldn't be anything surprising in the document. In other news, the number of new home starts dropped by 16% last month and building permits for future construction declined by 5.4%; both figures are worse than economists had expected. With those trends in mind, here are some companies making headlines today.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) announced today that SunExpress finalized an order for 15 737 MAX 8 aircraft and 25 next-generation 737-800 airplanes. The order would be valued at $3.8 billion, at list prices, and also includes a valuable option for 10 additional 737 MAX 8s. The order marks the largest in the Turkish carrier's nearly quarter century history.
"As an all-Boeing operator, SunExpress has built its quarter-century of success on the Next-Generation 737," said Todd Nelp, vice president of European sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a press release. "Today's record-order for additional Next-Generation 737s is testament to the value of these airplanes bring to SunExpress' fleet, while the purchase of the 737 MAX lays the foundation for the carrier's ambitious growth in the years ahead."
Boeing's 737 MAX is building on the success of its predecessor and delivers strong fuel efficiency, economics, and reliability, which has helped make the family of airplanes the market leader; the 737 MAX has reached a total of nearly 1,800 orders to date.
In other manufacturing news, General Motors (NYSE:GM) is inching closer to producing a largely aluminum bodied pickup truck by late 2018. That might sound futuristic for those who don't follow the automotive industry closely; however, General Motors is actually following in the footsteps of cross-town rival Ford (NYSE:F), which will release an aluminum bodied 2015 F-150 later this year.
While Ford took a large risk coming to market first with its aluminum bodied model, it also stands to take a leap in fuel efficiency long before its largest truck-selling competitor. GM, on the other hand, will be late to the game but will have an opportunity to fix potential flaws in Ford's aluminum design. When speaking to reporters, here's what GM's product chief had to say about Ford's aluminum bodied F-150.
"I want to get my hands on it," Mark Reuss told reporters, according to Bloomberg. "I'm going to be looking at how much aluminum is in it. 'What are the panels? ... How are they constructed?' I'm going to look at what they advertise as the weight savings from it. Then I'm going to go back and do some math."
Make no mistake, this is a huge development for Detroit's two largest automakers. Full-size pickups are by far the highest volume selling models in America, as well as the most profitable. Ford's F-150 and GM's Chevy Silverado represent the quickest ways for each company to gain or lose market share, along with a huge chunk of company profit. If Ford designed a winner that takes a leap in fuel efficiency, it could tilt the important segment even more into its favor -- Ford's F-150 has already been the best-selling truck and overall vehicle for 37 years and 32 years, respectively.
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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.