The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up today following some mixed reports on the economy, with index components Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) leading the way higher. As of 1:30 p.m. EDT the Dow is up 0.36%. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up 0.44%.

There were three major economic releases today:





Markit PMI








Construction Spending




The key reports are the purchasing managers' indexes. The Markit PMI was unchanged from last week's advance estimate of March's PMI, though more data was available on what trends purchasing managers are seeing.


The ISM PMI rose from 53.2 in February to 53.7, indicating that the economy is growing at a faster rate than it was last month.


Source: Institute for Supply Management.

Both indexes simply tell us what we already know: The economy and the employment situation are slowly improving. With debt around the world at high levels and the central banks doing all they can to spur on growth, the new normal of slow growth continues unabated.

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is Cisco, up 2.5%. Cisco announced today that it's expanding its Connected Safety and Security Solutions platform. Guido Jouret, vice president and general manager of the Cisco "Internet of things" business unit, explained: "Expanding on the opportunities presented by the Internet of Everything, Cisco is taking an open ecosystem approach to smart video cameras and instant communication to devices." Basically, Cisco customers will be able to use video over Internet protocol more reliably, enabling more real-time surveillance of operations and smarter video systems to let customers know when there is a problem.

Today is also the ex-date for Cisco's $0.19 quarterly dividend that will be paid out on April 23. At today's current price the stock has a forward expected yield of 3.3%. Fool contributor Timothy Green recently called Cisco the "Top Tech Dividend Stock."

Second for the Dow today is Boeing, up 1.8% after the company announced an order for 61 737s from Air Canada in addition to options on future orders, totaling $6.5 billion. While that's a lot of money, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu thinks the 737s are worth the large investment, saying: "Our narrowbody fleet renewal program with the 737 MAX is expected to yield significant cost savings and is a key element of our ongoing cost transformation program. Projected fuel and maintenance cost improvements of more than 20 percent per seat will generate an estimated CASM reduction of approximately 10 percent compared to our existing narrowbody fleet."

The Motley Fool has always taught that the key to being a successful investor is a long time horizon. Both Cisco and Air Canada are making long-term investments, while Boeing is capitalizing on its investments in new aircraft design.

3 stocks to own for the rest of your life
As every savvy investor knows, Warren Buffett didn't make billions by betting on half-baked stocks. He isolated his best few ideas, bet big, and rode them to riches, hardly ever selling. You deserve the same. That's why our CEO, legendary investor Tom Gardner, has permitted us to reveal The Motley Fool's 3 Stocks to Own Forever. These picks are free today! Just click here now to uncover the three companies we love. 

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He owns shares of Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. 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.

Compare Brokers