The Dow Waits for the Fed as General Electric, Boeing Drop

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrials had fallen 41 points as of 11 a.m. EDT. With the Federal Open Market Committee due to wrap up its two-day meeting this afternoon, investors expect insight on the future direction of Fed monetary policy within a few hours. Few believe the central bank will alter its course of gradually reducing the amount of bond buying it has made through quantitative easing Within the key industrial sector of the Dow, both General Electric and Boeing lost ground early Wednesday.

General Electric fell 0.6%. Shareholders have closely watched the conglomerate's attempts to buy the energy business of French giant Alstom. The proposed merger has raised nationalistic concerns in France and led General Electric's primary European rival to enter what could become a bidding war. CEO Jeff Immelt will reportedly meet with the French economic minister in an attempt to make GE's case for its own offer over that of Siemens, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Hitachi, which joined forces to provide a rival bid for a different set of Alstom's assets. Today's share-price decline might be due to reports that General Electric will make a higher bid for the energy business, improving on its $17 billion offer in order to get into the ballpark of the Siemens deal that puts a roughly $19.3 billion price tag on the segment. There's no doubt that General Electric would benefit from an Alstom takeover, but paying too much would make those benefits somewhat less attractive.

Boeing fell more than three-fourths of a percent. On its face, the drop seems inconsistent with news reports that the aerospace giant is in talks with a Chinese commercial-finance company to sell four or five 747-8 aircraft. Neither party confirmed the reports, though, and the deal puts more attention on how that particular airplane model hasn't taken off in the same way that Boeing's updated 737 model and its new 787 Dreamliner have. Moreover, Boeing's success has also created substantial problems for it to overcome, as it wrestles with juggling the manufacturing process for so many new aircraft models while maintaining the quality control that customers, passengers, and regulators all demand.

Investors in the Dow Jones Industrials can expect to see quiet trading until this afternoon's Fed announcement. At that point, investors could react dramatically if the Federal Reserve says anything unexpected about the future direction of monetary policy.

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