As the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) trades slightly above 16,000 this afternoon, Kansas City had some positive news for investors. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's manufacturing composite index increased to seven in November, up from six in October -- any reading above zero indicates expansion. On Thursday, Philadelphia also reported that area factories continue to expand in November. Manufacturers appear a bit more hopeful regarding the next six months, which is a good sign for the economy. With that in mind, here are two industrial juggernauts making headlines today. 

Boeing (NYSE:BA) is leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher again, after taking a breather for a couple of days. Boeing, up 2.14%, is the largest gainer in the index today while a couple of headlines swirl around the aviation giant.

Bloomberg, which is hosting a two-day conference in Chicago, reported that United Continental Holdings is interested in Boeing's new 777X planes to increase its competitiveness against Middle Eastern carriers such as Emirates. "We're going to look at it. We haven't made a decision," United Continental Holdings CFO John Rainey told the news service.

This comes just days after Boeing dominated the opening day of the Dubai Airshow with its 777X, bringing in nearly $100 billion in orders for that aircraft alone. In other 777X news, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says St. Louis is a prime option for Boeing's production of its next-generation 777 airplane.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., concurred in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "The St. Louis region is home to a skilled workforce with deep roots in the aviation industry and is an ideal production site for Boeing's new 777x aircraft project. I'm pleased that Boeing is considering St. Louis as a top contender for this initiative, and I'll be working hard to make the case to our friends at Boeing that St. Louis is the best place to build this aircraft."

Boeing employs roughly 15,000 people in Missouri. The the company is expected to select its 777X production site within three months.

Ford's F-Series full-size pickup. Photo credit:Ford

Outside of the Dow, Ford (NYSE:F) has continued to dominate competitors with North America margins that consistently exceed 10%. That's mainly due to the F-Series full-size pickup truck, Ford's best-selling and most profitable vehicle .Ford recently announced the truck's sales have already passed last year's full-year mark of 645,316 units in the U.S. market. If you do the math, that means this year on average one F-Series truck is sold every 42 seconds.

That pretty much ensures that Ford's highly profitable F-Series will reign champion as the United States' best-selling vehicle for its 32nd straight year.

"If our truck business continues at this rate through the end of the year, we will reach 60,000 F-Series sales for eight straight months, putting us on par with 2006, before the economic downturn," said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst, in a press release.

Ford considers any month in which more than 50,000 F-Series are sold to be a great month. With that in mind, see Ford's favorable results below.

Graph by author. Information from Ford's monthly sales releases.