Auto Investors Look to Tesla Motors' First Quarter and Boeing Awaits FAA Decision

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 26 points this afternoon as positive economic data might finally be outweighing escalating tensions in Ukraine. The Institute for Supply Management said its services sector index saw its greatest increase in eight months, from 53.1 in March to 55.2 in April, according to Reuters. That growth signals accelerating economic activity, and any reading above 50 indicates economic expansion.

"It's more confirmation the economy is strengthening and we are headed for stronger growth," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, in a Reuters article. "Unfortunately, we had those headlines out of Ukraine where the situation seems to be escalating but once the market realized the economy is doing better, we saw the snapback."

With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines in the market today.

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) is the biggest gainer in the Dow today, moving 1.33% higher. The airplane maker finds itself looking for an interesting decision by the Federal Aviation Administration. Boeing has sent a request to the FAA which, if approved, would allow the company's new 777X to be approved under the rules that grandfathered its original 777 airplane that was certified in 1995. Approval would allow Boeing to clear a major regulatory hurdle and remove a big chunk of cost associated with required changes for the newer 777X model to meet the latest aviation safety standards.

Boeing will need approval from the FAA and the agency's European counterpart; the two haven't always joined in agreement regarding these situations. Boeing's 777X is expected to be 20% more fuel efficient than current 777s and will play a large role in the company's future sales and profits. One factor that doesn't bode well for Boeing's request was the recent safety headaches with its 787 Dreamliner. That will likely cause the FAA to be slightly more stringent on this decision.

Tesla's Model S charging. Source: Tesla Motors.

Outside the Dow, after the major automakers have announced their first-quarter results, all eyes are turning to Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) earnings release set for Wednesday after the bell. Wall Street has dialed back its earnings-per-share estimates for Tesla over the past 60 days, although much of investors' focus will be on Model S deliveries.

Analysts expect Tesla to deliver 6,500 vehicles in the first quarter, compared to Tesla's own 6,400 guidance and the 4,900 delivered in the same quarter last year. It should be noted that Tesla typically underpromises and overdelivers. Just as important as overall delivery figures will be the results coming out of North America. While total deliveries are expected to grow, deliveries in North America are projected to slow sequentially to 3,800 vehicles in the first quarter from 4,100 in the last quarter of 2013.

Investors will also be on their toes for any details regarding potential Model X gross margins, location plans for its gigafactory, and highlights of Model S demand in China. 

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Daniel Miller

As a Motley Fool Industrial Specialist, I use my marketing and business background in the automotive industry to evaluate major automakers and other large industrial corporations. Follow me on twitter for tweets about stocks, cars, sports, and anything I find amusing.

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8/28/2015 4:55 PM
^DJI $16643.01 Down -11.76 -0.07%
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The Boeing Company CAPS Rating: ****
TSLA $248.48 Up +5.49 +2.26%
Tesla Motors CAPS Rating: **