The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.04%) was 0.04% higher during midafternoon trading after the Census Bureau reported that home sales in the U.S. increased by 9.6% last month and most regions recorded improved figures. The seasonally adjusted sales rate hit 468,000 homes for January, which is significantly higher than the expected annual rate of 401,000. That's good news for investors, as unexpected strength in the housing industry will benefit the overall economy. With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines today.

Boeing (BA 0.15%) dropped 0.15% by 3 p.m. EST even after the company announced a $2.4 billion U.S. Navy contract for 16 additional P-8A Poseidon aircraft that will bolster the service's maritime patrol capabilities.

Boeing's P-8A, which is based on the company's next-generation 737-800 commercial aircraft, will enhance the Navy's anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, according to Boeing.

"This contract reflects the success of the program and enables us to continue delivering an advanced, cost-effective maritime patrol aircraft to the Navy," said Rick Heerdt, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager, in a press release. "We delivered eight P-8s, all on or ahead of schedule in 2013, and we intend to keep that streak going in 2014."

Investors will be happy with the contract amid U.S. government defense budget cuts that continue to dampen revenue from Boeing's defense, space, and security business segment. Every defense contract will be important for Boeing to maximize revenue and profit from the segment, taking at least some pressure off the company's commercial aircraft side as it seeks to offset potential revenue declines from federal budget cuts.

Tesla's Model S. Source: Tesla Motors.

Outside of the Dow, Tesla (TSLA 0.79%) is again making headlines with its Model S fully electric vehicle. Consumer Reports, widely considered to be the single most effective and influential magazine for retail car buyers, announced the Model S was its all-around top-rated car for the 2014 model year. The magazine last year also called the Model S the best car it had ever tested.

Tesla remains one of the hottest stories on Wall Street and hit record highs yesterday as this information, as well as an upgrade from Morgan Stanley, added to investor confidence regarding the company's future. The week still holds much promise for the young start-up automaker, which is expected to soon announce plans for the battery factory to be built in the U.S. The battery factory will enable the company to lower costs dramatically and set the stage for its Gen III vehicle, which is intended to cost about half of the $70,000 (or more) you'd pay for a Model S.