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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is trading flat today as investors process what's going on with the Federal Reserve's plan -- or lack of one -- to curtail its monthly bond-purchasing program.
"I think many people, myself included, are beginning to worry about the consequences of how we unwind," said Charles Plosser, president of the Philadelphia Fed Bank.
Progress may be slow, but we'll take baby steps forward rather than backward, and Plosser also expects the economy to pick up at a rate of 2.5%-3% next year with unemployment continuing to trend lower.
Today did bring some positive news as the automotive industry continues its rebound. Here are the details.
General Motors and Ford (NYSE:F) both posted strong October sales results, up 16% and 14% for 226,402 and 191,985 units, respectively. All four of General Motors' brands improved in year-over-year comparisons and its Buick sales jumped by 31%. Chevrolet was up 15% in October, with success driven across the lineup as the brand had 13 nameplates that posted double-digit sales increases.
Ford's success was also spread across its lineup, with sales of passenger cars up 19%, utilities up 9%, and trucks up 14%. Ford's F-Series, America's best-selling vehicle for 31 years, increased sales by 13% and is on pace to reach nearly 750,000 in annual sales this year -- that would the first time it topped 700,000 since 2006.
October was a little disappointing for Toyota (NYSE:TM), which raised incentives by 8% but wasn't able to capture enough sales and will likely lose market share for the first time since May. Toyota's sales were up 9% to 168,976 units in October. Just as we're seeing in overall trends, Toyota's SUVs and other light trucks were up 17% but the gain was offset by car-model sales that rose a mere 3%. One of Toyota's flagship sedans, the Camry, actually posted a 2.6% decline in sales.
Outside of the automotive industry, Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE:SPR) shares soared in early trading and were still up more than 7%. The company reported Friday that third-quarter earnings came in at $0.65, beating estimates and reversing last year's $0.54 net loss. Revenue was up 10% year over year and its adjusted operating margin came in at 11.3%.
"Spirit's position on the industry's leading commercial aircraft translates directly to our $38 billion backlog as global demand for these products remains strong. Spirit is well-positioned to benefit from the long-lived commercial aerospace up-cycle," said President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Lawson.