The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was trading 29 points higher, or 0.18%, by midafternoon after mixed economic data hit the news feeds. Initial unemployment claims rose 28,000 to 326,000 last week, which was higher than expectations. However, in the grand scheme of things, claims remain near their seven-year low. On the positive side of economic news, the private-sector Conference Board said its Leading Economic Index, a gauge of future U.S. economic activity, rose for a third-straight month in April; the 0.4% bump comes on top of a revised 1% gain in March, according to Reuters.
"This latest report suggests the economy will continue to expand, and may even pick up steam through the second half of the year," Reuters quoted Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim as saying.
With those developments in mind, here are a couple companies making headlines in the markets today.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) was up 0.9% and one of the Dow's top-performing components. One very positive development for the commercial aircraft producer was its announcement earlier this week that 30 orders for the 737 MAX brought the total order count for that aircraft line above 2,000 -- specifically, 2,010 orders from 39 customers globally, valued at $209 billion at list prices. In addition to actual orders, Boeing also has commitments for more than 250 additional 737 MAX airplanes.
"Two thousand orders at this stage in the program is a remarkable achievement," said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a press release. "Since its first order, the 737 MAX has received more than 50 percent of the new orders versus its direct competition, proving the value this airplane offers to our customers."
Boeing's 737 MAX will be a vital part of the company's revenue going forward as it expects massive growth in the single-aisle airplane segment.
Outside the Dow, Ford (NYSE: F ) this week released pricing details on its highly anticipated 2015 Ford Mustang. Pricing for the 2015 Mustang with a V6 engine will start at $24,425, including shipping. For comparison, the 2014 Mustang's base price with shipping is $23,335. If you're looking for a more fuel-efficient option, the Mustang equipped with Ford's popular EcoBoost engine will start at $25,995; the EcoBoost will be a 2.3 liter inline-four that produces more than 305 horsepower. If you're looking for a more historical muscle car Mustang, the GT package will start at $32,925.
The Mustang is particularly important for Ford's brand, even with sales declining over the last decade. This will be the first redesign of the Mustang since 2005, and the Blue Oval expects to boost sales with the new model, especially since it will be selling globally for the first time. Look for the new 2015 Mustang to hit dealerships this fall.
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