The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 28 points by midafternoon Monday after the National Association of Realtors announced that its Pending Home Sales Index increased 3.4% to 97.4 in March. That was higher than economists' expectations of a 1% gain and suggests home sales could rebound in the months ahead.
"The stronger pending home sales report hints at resurgence in housing market momentum during the typically busier spring buying season," said Gennadiy Goldberg, a strategist at TD Securities, according to Reuters.
Rebounding home sales would be a good sign for the economy, especially as the Federal Reserve continues to pull back its economic stimulus. With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines in the market today.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) announced that it will supply engines for AirAsia X passenger aircraft in a deal valued at more than $1.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. The deal calls for General Electric to supply engines and service maintenance for 25 new A330 aircraft for the Malaysia-based airliner. General Electric's deal was the largest announced during President Barack Obama's tour of the Southeast Asian nation.
"It's a good day for American business," Obama said at a signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. "These deals reflect our commitment to stepping up our game" in Malaysia. The president noted that U.S. states including Ohio and North Carolina would also benefit from the contract, Bloomberg reported.
In other news, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) is just now beginning to send its electric Model S vehicles to the world's largest automotive market, China. To further its presence, Tesla has inked an agreement with Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, which will enable customers to make payments online from any location in China, according to Want China Times.
China's government is pushing electric vehicles, but last year the 14,600 electric vehicles sold didn't even account for 1% of overall sales in the nation. However, Tesla believes China will be extremely important to the automaker's future, and plans are being developed to produce vehicles in China to avoid steep tariffs that inflate the cost of a Model S. The existing 25% tariff has sent the cost of a Model S equipped with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery to 734,000 yuan, or about $118,000, in China, compared to $71,000 in the U.S. market.
"At some point in the next three or four years we'll be establishing local manufacturing in China," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said. "China is very important to the future of Tesla. We're going to make a big investment in China in terms of charging infrastructure."