1) Federal Express also reported a strong beat on top and bottomline. More importantly, they announced a rate increase effective January 5, 2015, by an average of 4.9 percent for domestic, express, ground and freight services. They backed full year guidance (this was the first quarter of the fiscal year), which was an historic high!
2) Two days ahead of the breathlessly awaited initial public offering (IPO) by Alibaba, Civitas Solutions, which provides home- and community-based healthcare services, priced 11.7 million shares at $17, well below the $20 to $23 range.
As for Alibaba, opinions are all over the place about how high it will price, and who will actually get a slice. IPO Boutique cited "strong sources" indicating that the top 50 institutional accounts could get upwards of 80 percent of the offering. That would leave a lot of leftover demand for retail investors and smaller institutions.
3) Boeing's win (along with Elon Musk's SpaceX) of a $4.2 billion contract from NASA for its next passenger aircraft is exciting for Boeing and for the manned space station. The CST-100 will transport up to 7 passengers, with the first manned flight scheduled for 2017.
Not only is it a significant advance over the old space shuttle, it will dramatically reduce U.S. reliance on the Russians for transportation to and from the space station.
Unfortunately, the $4.2 billion contract only amounts to about 5 percent of Boeing's estimated $89 billion in revenues that it will likely collect in 2014. Boeing is still reliant on Commercial Airplane sales for over 60 percent of those revenues. Military aircrafts are roughly 18 percent of sales, but those sales are expected to decline this year.
--By CNBC's Bob Pisani