The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) traded slightly higher today, up 0.11% by midafternoon, as many investors are cautiously waiting to hear from the Federal Reserve next week. Several indicators have shown that inflation remains in check, while the Producer Price Index dropped 0.1% from October to November -- the third consecutive month of declines. As we cap off this week, here are some major industrial companies making headlines today.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) has certainly done its part this year to push the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher, with its stock increasing 77% year to date. The airplane manufacturer is deciding where to produce its next-generation airplane, the 777X. Boeing's 777X will give cash-strapped airliners a 12% improvement in fuel economy over its competition; the airplane brought in nearly $100 billion in orders at the recent Dubai Airshow.
Boeing has produced the 777 at its Everett, Wash., plant, but the machinists' union last month rejected the company's contract offer that would have guaranteed Everett its 777X production. (The union dismissed a second proposal this week.) Since that time, Boeing has diligently shopped around to build its leverage, and up to 15 states are competing for the jobs this airplane production would bring.
One strong contender is South Carolina, where today Boeing announced it will begin construction on a new paint facility in the second half of 2014. The company also purchased an additional 468 acres of land in North Charleston, S.C., without specific plans for land except for the paint facility.
This certainly doesn't mean Boeing plans to send 777X production to South Carolina, but it definitely strengthens the company's long-term commitment to the state.
In addition to improving Boeing's leverage in contract negotiations with its Everett plant for the 777X production, the new paint facility in South Carolina will make a leaner manufacturing and production process. Currently, any South Carolina-made 787 Dreamliner is flown to Fort Worth, Texas, for final paint and then flown back to South Carolina for customer delivery.
Outside of the Dow Jones, Ford (NYSE:F) is putting the finishing touches on an impressive 2013 and is preparing to enter 2014 with plenty of ambition.
Not only is the company redesigning essentially the heart and soul of its vehicle lineup, the Mustang and the F-150, it also plans to launch a total of 23 new vehicles around the world and open three manufacturing facilities. With more global production in mind, Ford will add more than 5,000 new U.S. jobs next year; that's in addition to the nearly 14,000 it has created in the past two years.
"We saw unprecedented growth in the United States this year, especially in the midsize and utility segments," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, in a press release. "With the addition of 16 new products to our showroom, including Ford Mustang, our momentum continues."
Speaking of momentum, Ford's F-Series has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for 36 consecutive years and will soon make the streak 37 years. Ford's F-150 is its most profitable and highest volume-selling vehicle, which means its success is vital to the company's top line, bottom line, and market-share growth.
Sales of its popular full-size truck are up nearly 20% year to date and look to increase next year when the redesigned F-150 hits the showrooms. In anticipation for the next generation F-150, Ford is adding 2,000 jobs at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri to support increased production.
Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends Ford. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. 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.