The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up a minuscule one point, or 0.01%, in midafternoon trading after the International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for 2014 global economic growth from 3.7% to 3.6%.
"Downside risks continue to dominate the global growth outlook," according to the IMF's World Economic Outlook.
The reduced outlook, and concern with emerging markets, comes as investors eye the upcoming earnings season with caution due to the harsh winter's potential impact on corporate profits. That said, investors would be wise to freshen up their watchlists in case a market pullback creates a buying opportunity for some of your favorite businesses.
With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines.
Boeing (NYSE:BA), down 1%, is doing its part to drag the Dow lower despite favorable order numbers for the first quarter. Late last week, the company announced that it had reached 235 net commercial aircraft sales through March, with the vast majority of orders belonging to its 737. Boeing in 2014 is far outstripping rival Airbus, which has 103 net orders on the year.
Meanwhile, outside the Dow, it's not often that investors look at automaker recalls and breathe a sigh of relief. That's exactly what Ford (NYSE:F) investors are doing, though, after the company announced it would recall roughly 435,000 vehicles due to two separate issues.
Typically, automakers will announce negative news on a Friday afternoon, when media attention is lighter. This announcement came on a Monday, but was almost entirely overshadowed by the massive recall debacle taking place at Ford's crosstown rival, General Motors (NYSE:GM). Ford's could have delayed such a recall for months -- but why do that when all the attention is focused on GM?
The majority of the recalls by Ford on Monday are related to rust problems that could cause parts to separate and potentially diminish steering control. Less than 50,000 of the overall recall figure is due to seat-back frames that did not comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards. Both recalls pale in comparison to GM's ignition failure problems that have led to nearly 2.6 million recalled vehicles and are blamed for at least 13 deaths.
Ford shareholders don't have much to worry about at the moment, but GM investors will need to keep an eye on how the company finishes handling this situation. I believe the automaker must take a stand regarding how to compensate families affected by the defective vehicles, and quickly. Consumer reactions tend to be rapid on events such as these and are also quick to fade; however, a recall this massive with deaths involved and possible cover-ups won't go away. If this situation stays in media headlines, or gets worse through litigation, it could definitely diminish sales of GM vehicles over the next couple of quarters.