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Boeing Surprisingly Leads the Dow Higher

Dan Dzombak
February 27, 2013

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is up following some mixed economic reports. As of 1:25 p.m. EST, the Dow is up 131 points, or 0.94%, to 14,032. The S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) is up 1% to 1,512.

There were two U.S. economic releases today.





Durable-goods orders




Durable-goods orders ex-transportation




Pending home sales




Source: MarketWatch U.S. Economic Calendar.

First up, the Department of Commerce reported that durable-goods manufacturers' new orders fell a seasonally adjusted 5.2% in January from $228.8 billion to $217 billion. That's far below December's growth of 3.7%. The main culprit was aircraft and transportation equipment. Transportation equipment orders were down 20%, nondefense aircraft orders were down 34%, and defense aircraft sales were down 64%. The transportation sector can be very volatile, so it's good to also consider the numbers excluding transportation.

Durable-goods orders excluding transportation were actually up a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in January, exceeding December's 1% growth. This is a positive sign for the economy, as it shows that companies are investing in production assets to help expand their businesses. It remains to be seen whether the economy is really kicking into a higher gear or this is simply pent-up spending by companies that were afraid to spend in November and December due to the fiscal cliff.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported that its pending-home-sales index rose 4.5% in January to 105.9 from 101.3 in December. Year over year, the index is up 9.5%. The pending-home-sales index is seen as a two-month leading indicator for existing-home sales and is based on signed real-estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. The measurement is based on the average level of contract activity during 2001, which equals the index level of 100.

US Pending Home Sales Index Chart

US Pending Home Sales Index data by YCharts.

The positive pendi