Wall Street has bought into this rosy view, pushing Boeing up 30% this year, making it the Dow's third-best performer. Analysts are estimating earnings of $1.05 a share when Boeing reports on Wednesday, which represents a sharp reversal from a loss of $2.22 a share a year earlier.
"Boeing at this point in its history is as well-positioned as I have ever seen it," said Davenport & Co. analyst Carter Leake. "It's a duopolist, with airplanes in short supply," Leake said. "I am looking out ten years and it looks damn good."
Yet the Boeing story also has a troubling side. Development of the 787 veered far off course. The true cost of this variance is not known and may never be known. Another new airplane, the 747-800 freighter, was also delayed, as resources were diverted to the 787. Delays accounted for the year-ago third quarter loss.In an Oct. 1 report, Gleacher & Co. analyst Peter Arment sketched out the dichotomy within Boeing. On the one hand, he said, "Boeing is incurring more costs on the 747-8 program" and "the 787 and 747-8 still have headline risks," he said. On the other hand, "program accounting benefits coupled with continued strong performance within the 737 and 777 platforms have partially offset the increase in costs." In fact, Arment noted, "a higher number of 777 deliveries and continuing strong profit contributions from both the 777 and 737 programs" led him to increase his estimate to $1.06 a share. Other analysts also raised estimates, so that consensus has risen from 99 cents at the start of the month. To extrapolate, good Boeing -- the 737 and the 777 -- profitably supports bad Boeing, the delay-wracked development programs for the 787 and the 747-800. Meanwhile, despite anticipated declines in U.S. defense spending, Boeing Defense, Space and Security seems unlikely to suffer. Arment noted that "international orders [are] expected to boost the long-term outlook for defense," which accounts for about 50% of Boeing revenue, estimated to be about $65 billion in 2010. For Boeing Commercial Aircraft, the bottom line is always its order book, equivalent to seven years of revenues. Most orders are for the 737, the best-selling airplane in history. Boeing has delivered 6,543 of them and has 2,127 outstanding orders. About 4,000 aircraft are currently in service, flown by airlines in 115 countries. At any given moment, 1,200 737s are in the air somewhere in the world.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV