Boeing has been brought down to Earth over the massively delayed Dreamliner airplane, but the ratings model has found several other areas of concern. With many airlines cutting orders, the growth component of Boeing's ratings score has dropped significantly. The company has bounced between profits and losses in 2009, and until orders pick up, it's difficult to expect permanent profits. Concerns over sluggish economic growth and the government's defense-spending cuts leave the future cloudy.
Financial stability also is a worry. The company had a negative shareholders' equity level in the third quarter but popped back above water after releasing fourth-quarter results. Once fourth-quarter results are factored into the model, Boeing could swing upward in the rankings, but its score is low enough to make an upgrade to "buy" only a remote possibility.