The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is again searching for direction, trading a mere 29 points lower, or 0.18%, by midafternoon. On a disappointing note, initial weekly claims for unemployment benefits -- a broad measure of layoffs in the U.S. -- increased to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 at the end of March. Still, the figure remains under the 400,000 mark that economists believe indicates an expanding labor market. Now investors and economists will look toward tomorrow's monthly employment figures from the Labor Department; estimates are for 200,000 jobs to be added in March. With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines in the market today.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) was trading 0.26% higher after it reported its first-quarter commercial aircraft deliveries. Boeing delivered 161 commercial airplanes, which was a nearly 18% increase over last year's first-quarter deliveries of 137 aircraft. Deliveries of 115 next-generation 737 made up the majority of the deliveries. Boeing also delivered 24 777 aircraft,18 787 airplanes, and four 747s.
Investors hope deliveries keep climbing throughout 2014 as the company is accelerating production on many of its commercial airplanes to take advantage of its massive $441 billion backlog of orders. Production of Boeing's 737 is expected to rise to 42 per month by the middle of this year from its current 38 per month pace. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner program, which was having difficulties ramping up production to the company's goal of 10 units each month, actually took a step back from its fourth-quarter deliveries of 25 aircraft. Investors would be wise to keep an eye on 787 deliveries, as well as the effect the aircraft has on margins as it struggles to reach profitability, if production does increase to 10 airplanes per month.
Outside the Dow, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced yesterday it had acquired Medical Modeling, a leading provider of personalized surgical treatments and medical devices. It's a solid move for 3D Systems, which expects the acquisition to be instantly accretive to its net income. In investing terms that means you can expect incremental earnings per share right away.
"The combination of our rapidly growing health care business with Medical Modeling's expanding range of products and services creates the largest 3D printing based personalized surgery and patient specific medical device service capabilities available today," 3D Systems President and CEO Avi Reichental said in a press release. "By leveraging our collective expertise, technologies and channels under the capable leadership of Andy Christensen, we plan to deliver an expanding range of direct metal and plastic medical devices designed to address this rapidly expanding opportunity."