The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is flat-lining today, unaffected by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's comments that small-cap, social-media, and biotech stocks appear to be richly valued.
According to Reuters, Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co, commented:
It's very unusual for the Fed chairman to take a micro view of a specific industry group. Usually the comments are very top level. So I think the Fed is a little more in tune with what has been bothering the market. My thought is it's late, but not too late in terms of recognition.
This illustrates why having some blue-chip, dividend-paying companies in your portfolio can be a good idea to help minimize market volatility; Yellen's comments contributed to the Russell 2000 small-cap index's decline of about 1% today.
With that in mind, here are two major industrial companies making headlines in the markets today.
Outside the Dow, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) is showing again that it doesn't believe in pulling punches -- not even against the White House. A little more than a year ago Tesla fans and consumers initiated a petition on Tesla's behalf asking that the electric-car maker be allowed to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states.
Though it took roughly a month's time to gather the 100,000 signatures to require a response from the White House, the latter took its time to respond. Its eventual response basically said it would require an act of Congress to change current state laws on direct-to-consumer auto sales. Tesla was quick to express its disappointment. Here is a response from Tesla's vice president of corporate and business development, Diarmuid O'Connell:
Rather than seize an opportunity to promote innovation and support the first successful American car company to be started in more than a century, the White House issued a response that was even more timid than its rejection of a petition to begin construction of a Death Star. Instead of showing the sort of leadership exhibited by senior officials at the Federal Trade Commission who declared their support for consumer freedom of choice, the White House merely passed the buck to Congress and trumpeted its advances in promoting vehicle efficiency. Given the economic and environmental principles at stake, we would have hoped for stronger leadership and more action.
Despite the lack of action from the White House, it really doesn't matter for Tesla -- at least not yet. Tesla remains supply-constrained, and even without direct-to-consumer auto sales allowed in every state, if a car buyer wants a Tesla Model S, he or she will get one, period. Investors would be wise to keep an eye on the direct-to-consumer sales development as Tesla approaches the launch of its more affordable generation-three vehicle; that's when state restrictive laws could have an adverse impact on sales.
Inside the Dow, Boeing (NYSE:BA) continues to bring in commercial aircraft orders at the Farnborough Airshow this week. Today Boeing announced an order from Intrepid Aviation for six 777-300ERs, valued at $1.9 billion at current list prices. The order's value could balloon to $3.2 billion at list prices if Intrepid exercises its options for an additional four 777s.
Boeing also announced an order from Air Lease Corporation (NYSE:AL) for 26 airplanes, 20 of which will be 737 MAX 8 valued at more than $2 billion together at current list prices. The remaining six airplane orders are for Boeing's 777-300ER, which is valued at $1.9 billion at current list prices.
Yet another order at the airshow today for Boeing comes from CIT Aerospace, which has placed an order for 10 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at $2.5 billion at current list prices.
Ultimately, after this airshow is wrapped up and orders are totaled, investors would be wise to see how Boeing's and rival Airbus' orders compare. It will be the latest indication in how sales momentum is shifting between the two aviation juggernauts.