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After several days in the red, the markets are picking up steam today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is climbing after international markets surged earlier today. As of 2:15 p.m. EDT, the Dow has posted gains of more than 50 points. Dow component Boeing (NYSE:BA) is taking off, ranking among the blue-chip index's leaders. Let's catch up on the big stories of the day.
Boeing and Asia hit the gas
The good news got started early for investors, as Asia's markets surged during the early morning hours. Japan's Nikkei (NIKKEIINDICES:^NI225) shot up 2.6% today as part of a broader rebound among the Asian indexes that also saw strong performances from South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng. Japan investors welcomed news that the country's core machinery orders fell 2.7% for June -- far less than the 7.1% dip expected and a sign that businesses are still spending freely in the midst of Japan's stimulus-aided rebound, which has followed decades of stagnation.
China also bolstered the markets before the Dow opened when the country's bubbling housing sector received a surprise boost. Wenzhou, a city in eastern China, eased property restrictions in a move that goes against the country's recent move to curb growing home prices. Wenzhou will now allow first-time home-buyers to purchase a second property, which was previously disallowed. That helped housing stocks push up the major Chinese indexes, and it bodes well for a freer Chinese housing market -- something that could help bring down housing prices over the long run without further interference from Beijing.
On the Dow, Boeing has leaped the front of the pack, with shares gaining 2.1% on the day. The CEO of Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE:SPR), a builder of Boeing's 737 aircraft bodies and other parts, said Boeing could increase 737 production by 12% later in the year. That would be good news for Spirit, which just posted a quarterly loss yesterday on the back of greater-than-expected costs, but it's also a boon for Boeing investors.
Boeing's commercial-airplanes division fuels the majority of the company's revenue, raking in about 60% of the firm's sales over the first half of this year. The business grew sales by 15% in the most recent quarter alone -- a strong showing for such a large segment that far outpaced the gains made in all of Boeing's other divisions. Boeing already increased its 737 production rate from 35 per month to 38 a month earlier this year, according to its most recent 10-Q quarterly report, and a higher output of these versatile aircraft will help Boeing keep its revenue rising amid sequestration's impact on the defense sector and the civilian-aircraft market's rise.
Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Spirit AeroSystems Holdings. 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.