Boeing Falls Back to Earth as the Dow Plunges 100 Points

Investors aren't thinking about new record highs today as all three major U.S. stock indices are in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  down by 113 points as of 2:35 p.m. EDT. All but a handful of blue-chip stocks are having off days. A 2.4% dive by Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , one of the weightier stocks on the price-weighted index, is responsible for a large part of the Dow's plummet today. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Economic prospects in jeopardy?
The World Bank kicked things off on a sour note this morning with the release of its latest Global Economic Prospects report. In it, the World Bank dropped its growth estimates for top economies this year, citing impacts such as the harsh winter weather in the U.S. and the ongoing Ukraine crisis. Wall Street didn't care for the World Bank's prediction that the U.S. economy this year will grow by 2.1% -- down from an earlier estimate of 2.8% -- as stocks started off the day on the downswing and haven't turned it around ever since.

A downgrade from RBC Capital Markets from outperform to sector perform has slugged Boeing stock so far. RBC analyst Robert Stallard noted that a lack of new aircraft coming from the aerospace powerhouse indicates that growth could wane over the next few years -- especially considering Boeing's strong gains in the recent past. Boeing's 777 line of aircraft in particular has surged worldwide as the company looks to advance past rival Airbus (NASDAQOTH: EADSY  ) in the market for large-body commercial craft.

Boeing's 777-200 LR aircraft. Source: Boeing image gallery.

Yet Airbus took a big hit of its own today -- one that could provide a huge opportunity for Boeing and its investors. Dubai-based airline Emirates canceled a $16 billion deal for 50 Airbus A350 jets, sending Airbus stock down by more than 3% as of midafternoon. Emirates already is the world's largest buyer of Boeing's 777 and 777X aircraft, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, and Airbus' loss here is a chance for Boeing to sell more of its craft and establish a critical advantage over its top rival in the Middle East. While Airbus still has a major order in the backlog with Qatar Airways, this development is nonetheless a significant blow to the European aerospace giant.

Nike  (NYSE: NKE  )  stock has fallen off by 1.5%, even as the athletic-apparel giant gears up for a major visibility push during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. According to the Associated Press, Nike managed more than $2 billion in revenue from soccer and related activities last year, making this once-in-four-years opportunity a major chance to keep up with the competition in the growing global sport. Considering that rival Adidas is a major sponsor of the World Cup and boasted greater soccer-related revenue last year, Nike needs to make the most of this opportunity to close the gap and expand its international growth.

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