The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained almost 29 points Friday, limiting their losses for the week to 125 points. While that might not sound like a good result, many investors breathed a sigh of relief as they considered just how much worse the market might have done. With the specter of a renewed sovereign debt crisis in Europe hanging over the Dow, investors remained remarkably calm, succumbing to a single day of partial panic, but eventually coming to the realization that the strength in the U.S. economy wouldn't evaporate overnight. Today, gains in General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) helped refocus attention back on longer-term support for the Dow and its future.
General Electric's gains of 1.3% came amid optimism that the conglomerate's earnings could continue to see substantial growth when GE reports its second-quarter results. General Electric has a lot going on right now, with its acquisition of Alstom, and its spinoff of its Synchrony Financial consumer-finance unit, as well as ongoing contributions from its various core business units. Even with so many one-time factors distracting from the continuity of General Electric's performance, the Dow component will still rely on a solid commercial aerospace environment to help drive sales growth in the key part of its business. With its aircraft engines featured prominently on aircraft from both major wide-body manufacturers, General Electric has plenty of room to move higher.
For its part, Boeing obviously has cast its lot with the aerospace industry, as well, and it believes that the opportunity in the current environment is even bigger than it previously projected. Boeing said today that it expected its customers to spend $5.2 trillion on almost 37,000 new aircraft between now and 2033, an increase of more than 4% from its previous 20-year forecast. Yet, the bigger challenge that Boeing has is how to make the most of the orders it already has, with a huge backlog, and the need to increase production capacity in order to meet delivery commitments. Boeing has to juggle a huge array of suppliers, like General Electric, to keep its own schedule on track, and the aerospace giant hopes to keep those suppliers in line in order to boost its own margins and make more of its sales opportunity. With so much money on the line, Boeing will have a big challenge in negotiating more favorable supply arrangements, but success could send profits soaring.
The Dow's strength relies on solid performers like General Electric and Boeing adding to its overall gains. With so many favorable prospects, the Dow could easily shake off this week's losses, and start climbing toward new records again in the near future.
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Dan Caplinger owns shares of General Electric. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.