U.S. stocks markets are trading mostly lower today following new Commerce Department data showing that sales of new homes dropped 14.5% in March. First-quarter average monthly sales fell 3.9% from a year ago to 434,000 as interest rates rose and the average homebuyer continued to struggle with a weak economy.
We shouldn't be shocked by falling home sales given the macro environment and the fast rise in home prices over the last five years, but that doesn't mean the market won't react in the short term. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is faring fairly well compared to other indexes, only falling 0.05% in late trading. More important for the Dow's long-term direction are the profits coming out of some of its key components.
Boeing soars today
The index's top mover on the upside today is Boeing (NYSE:BA), which was up 2.1%. The company reported earnings this morning and results easily topped expectations.
Revenue was up 8% in the first quarter to $20.5 billion and earnings (excluding one-time items) reached $1.76 per share, beating the $1.56 that analysts expected.
Commercial aircraft are driving improving results; 737 production reached a record rate of 38 aircraft per month, which is ultimately expected to rise to 42. The 787 Dreamliner is also picking up steam with 110 deliveries expected this year, up from 65 a year ago.
Military revenue was down 5.9% in the quarter to $7.6 billion. That's to be expected given the cuts to military spending in the U.S.
The good news for long-term investors is that Boeing's order backlog was $440 billion at the end of the quarter, which gives management visibility into the future. Confidence was even high enough to raise 2014 earnings guidance from $7 to $7.20 per share up to $7.15 to $7.35.
Global demand for commercial aircraft continues to pick up, and that will fly Boeing's results higher. The stock is following suit today.