The stock market pushed upward once again on Monday morning, sending some stock indexes into record territory as market participants celebrated recent good news on the trade front. With the U.S. and China apparently having reached a preliminary deal to address at least some of their issues, investors seem to believe that the move represents just a first step toward a more comprehensive agreement. As of just before 11 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 186 points to 28,321. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rose 27 points to 3,196, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) gained 92 points to reach 8,827.
Among individual stocks, there were winners and losers. Boeing (NYSE:BA) faced new challenges with its 737 MAX aircraft that have it considering production cuts for the airliner. Yet Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) made investors happy with an increase to its dividend, showing its confidence in its future.
Boeing's stock loses altitude
Shares of Boeing were down more than 3%, putting a significant drag on the Dow Jones Industrials. Investors reacted negatively to news that the aerospace giant might consider halting production of its 737 MAX aircraft, at least temporarily, as it waits to try to get the airplane model back in the air.
Boeing had pushed hard for the Federal Aviation Administration to declare the 737 MAX airworthy before the end of 2019, with the goal of making it easier for the company to justify keeping the MAX in production. During the aircraft's grounding, Boeing has continued to manufacture MAX planes, but it hasn't been able to deliver them to customers, creating logistical challenges.
However, the FAA pushed back at Boeing, resisting the pressure to certify the aircraft on Boeing's time frame and instead saying that its process will slip into early 2020. That critical decision is what prompted many of those following Boeing to conclude that it'll have to strongly consider curtailing or temporarily stopping MAX production until it gets the final go-ahead from regulators.
Investors have generally been optimistic that Boeing will eventually get the MAX flying again, and that's prevented the stock from seeing more significant declines. Today's speculation, however, has raised fears of a longer-term delay that could prove more problematic for Boeing.
Pfizer keeps dividend investors happy
Shares of Pfizer picked up more than 2% after the drugmaker announced that it would boost its dividend payment to shareholders. The move came as part of a broader announcement aimed at explaining Pfizer's growth strategy and giving updates on its pipeline.
Pfizer shareholders will now receive $0.38 per share on a quarterly basis. That's 6% higher than the $0.36-per-share quarterly payout that Pfizer made previously. The company noted that the payment will mark the 325th straight quarter that investors have received a dividend.
For dividend stock investors, Pfizer's history of shareholder payouts has been mixed. For a long time, Pfizer had an impressive track record and consistently boosted what it paid shareholders on an annual basis for more than 40 years. However, that streak came to an end when Pfizer decided to acquire industry peer Wyeth and chose to slash its dividend in half.
Since then, Pfizer has done its best to restore its reputation and now pays more than it did prior to the cut. However, longtime dividend investors haven't forgotten. Pfizer will have to demonstrate at its investor day presentation in March that it has the pipeline and development potential to produce the growth necessary to keep the dividend rising for the foreseeable future.