The S&P 500 set an intraday record early in today's session and was just a point off that high at 1,883 in late trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) isn't too far from its own all-time high, up 0.4% to 16,522 as of 3:30 p.m. EDT.
The driver of today's gains is an Institute for Supply Management index of national factory activity, which read 53.7 in March. A reading above 50 indicates manufacturing expansion and that should be good news for the economy.
Why Boeing and Disney are up
The Dow's gains are spread out, but Boeing (NYSE: BA ) and Disney (NYSE: DIS ) are up 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively, on some positive news. Boeing said it finalized an order from Air Canada for 61 737 MAX airplanes worth about $6.5 billion at list price. The company's momentum of new orders continues, and this brings 737 MAX orders up to a whopping 1,900 to date. The product is scheduled for deliveries starting in the third quarter of 2017.
A county judge in Chicago also yesterday dismissed a discovery petition by a claimed relative of a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the Boeing 777 that disappeared weeks ago. He was trying to get information about the aircraft's batteries and other data.
Disney's big advance was helped by the company offering its "WATCH" platform of streaming apps to Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH ) customers. The group of apps include WATCH ABC and WatchESPN, which are becoming popular streaming video apps and early movers in this growing market.
What's encouraging for Disney is that Dish is moving so quickly to incorporate streaming apps, because the company also allowed DISH to offer a streaming-only subscription for these apps. That's not a reality yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it arrive later this year. At the very least, Disney is leading the way into streaming; having more TV viewers get used to its apps is a good thing in the long term.
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