The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was trading 24 points higher, or 0.15%, by midafternoon and flirting with another record high, despite April retail sales disappointing investors. Sales increased 0.1% in April from the prior month, which was lower than the expected 0.4% gain.
"The retail number was weak, but last month was revised higher and there are few places to go other than equities in this market," said James Liu, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds, according to Reuters. "Even though we're at an all-time high, which is psychologically important, we're not especially overstretched from a performance basis, given our gains this year. There's still room for us to move to the upside."
With that in mind, here are two companies making headlines today.
Inside the Dow, Boeing (NYSE: BA ) is making progress on its behind-schedule aircraft work which ballooned amid bottlenecks in 787 Dreamliner production earlier this year. Boeing's North Charleston, S.C., plant has reduced those behind-schedule jobs by more than 72% and is putting the workforce, excluding contractors, on track for a one-time bonus.
Working through those behind-schedule work orders should drastically decrease traveled work -- work orders that were sent to other plants for completion as the North Charleston plant fell behind.
"This puts aft, mid-body and final assembly operations in both Everett (Wash.) and South Carolina into a better position for a smoother, more efficient, more stable production flow, which was our ultimate goal," said Candy Eslinger, a Boeing spokeswoman, according to Reuters.
The next step for Boeing is to slowly wind down contract labor overtime as production stabilizes at its accelerated pace.
Outside the Dow, General Motors (NYSE: GM ) is introducing 4G connectivity next month in the Chevrolet Malibu. Drivers will pay between $10 to $50 per month for the service, depending on data usage, which will enable users to create a wireless hot spot in their vehicles. Former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson negotiated a deal with AT&T which will send $20 to the automaker for every vehicle owner who activates the service.
"Will the consumer think that's a better deal than relying on their phone's data plan?" Morningstar analyst David Whiston said, according to USA Today. "It's a new source of revenue that, for now, is rather unique to GM. It's a nice way to differentiate GM's vehicles from not just Ford, but Toyota and Honda too."
Ultimately, this looks to be a great move for GM as there is very little downside for the automaker. However, it may take time for the service to offer enough features and upside to lure consumers into paying for another monthly subscription. This is definitely an interesting development for GM investors to keep an eye on.
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