Stocks are sliding across the market to open the new week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) as of 2:30 p.m. EDT sliding 76 points away from near-record highs hit last week. All but a select few blue-chip stocks on the index are tumbling. While disappointing data out of China this morning kicked off the market slide, the Dow's big loser so far has been Boeing (NYSE: BA ) after investors abandoned the stock to a 2.1% fall following the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines 777 this weekend.
Let's catch up with that story and all the key things you need to know around the Dow today.
China disappoints, Boeing plunges
Starting off in China, the world's second-largest economy last month saw exports drop by a surprising 18.1%, reversing the more than 10% gain seen in January and leading to the country's first monthly trade deficit of 2014 as imports picked up by 10% in February. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSIINDICES: ^HSI ) dropped by 1.7% overnight as investors considered new fears over a possible China economic slowdown. It's the latest black mark for such a sentiment that wasn't helped by February's Purchasing Managers' Index from the country, which fell to a eight-month low. That has kept the Hang Seng in the red through the first two months of the year, and so far China's markets haven't gotten off to the start Wall Street had hoped for in 2014.
The big news today is Boeing, however. The unexpected disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft in a rare and still-unexplained incident has hit Boeing's stock today, but it isn't the only recent headache for the company. Boeing announced Friday that it had discovered small cracks in the wings of 40 787 Dreamliner aircraft currently in production, leading to new speculation over the safety of the airplane that dominated headlines after being grounded early last year.
Production has picked up for the aircraft, and despite the grounding worries from last year -- a much more publicized and serious incident -- Boeing still managed to deliver 65 Dreamliners to customers in 2013 and exceeded its 1,000th order of the series in November.
The 777, meanwhile, shouldn't concern investors at all -- and certainly shouldn't be hitting the stock as it has today, despite the Southeast Asia tragedy this weekend. Many industry experts and analysts have been quick to point out the aircraft's sterling safety record, dubbing it among the safest aircraft on Earth. Boeing has delivered more than 1,200 777s in the aircraft's run. Considering that the cause of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft's disappearance still is unknown, there's no reason to shy away from Boeing's stock -- or your faith in this company -- over a lone, albeit tragic, incident.
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