The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was trading 79 points higher, or 0.47%, in midafternoon as some investors perhaps gained optimism with the opening of earnings season. Aluminum giant Alcoa, a former Dow component, yesterday reported adjusted second-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street expectations. Though Alcoa isn't considered a market-moving company of any kind, it was a positive development after two days of market losses.
Thomson Reuters expects profits of S&P 500 companies to grow by 6.2% in the second quarter on a 3% rise in revenue. Investors and analysts across the United States will be eyeing earnings season to see if the economy has indeed recovered from this year's harsh winter months that slowed consumer spending.
With that in mind, here are some major companies making headlines in the markets today.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) investors breathed a small sigh of relief today when the aviation manufacturer's deal with Dubai-based airline Emirates was officially finalized. The Emirates order for 150 Boeing 777X jets valued at $56 billion was a commitment from last November's Dubai Airshow.
While there was no reason for the airplane manufacturer to doubt the commitment, some investors were likely on edge after Emirates just weeks ago canceled a $16 billion order for 70 aircraft with Boeing's rival Airbus.
Emirates' order also includes purchase rights for an additional 50 airplanes, which could increase the value of the deal to $75 billion, at list prices. With this order in the books, investors and Boeing will now look toward to this month's Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K., where billions of dollars' worth of new airplane orders are often announced.
Boeing's massive backlog of orders is valued at roughly $440 billion -- essentially five years' worth of revenue. That revenue transparency is one reason investors are comfortable and optimistic in the company's near-term potential as production and deliveries are accelerated.
In other industrial news, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) investors may have reason to be optimistic heading into earnings season despite plunging global machine sales. Caterpillar will announce its second-quarter results on July 24, and analysts have become positive on the heavy-machinery manufacturer's chances to beat Wall Street expectations.
Barclays' Andy Kaplowitz recently noted this to investors, according to Barron's: "Despite 2014 consensus EPS slightly above Caterpillar's guidance range, we expect Caterpillar to raise its outlook based on a stronger oil and gas market than expected, some improvement in global construction equipment markets, and significant margin leverage as markets begin to recover, although we do expect mining to remain a modest headwind on results."
While Caterpillar is relying on strength in its North American business, the company will need its Asian segment to turn around after machine sales spiraled out of control, due to a weak mining environment, if its stock price rally is to continue higher.