(BA - Get Report)
year has been less good. Shares of the $53 billion aerospace firm have slid 4.5% this year, effectively doing 17% worse than the market since the first trading day of January. But even though Boeing's just been slugging it out sideways, there's reason to like this stock right now.
Most people know its airliner business -- chances are, if you've flown on a commercial airline more than once, you've flown on a Boeing plane. But airliners only make up half of BA's business; the other half comes from the defense sector, where Boeing manufactures aircraft like the KC-46A refueling tanker used by the U.S. Air Force. Despite the political risks of having hefty exposure to the defense budget right now, Boeing's projects are mission-critical and they've got ample backlog to smooth out any rough air over Capitol Hill.
On the commercial front, the new 787 is a game changer. The blank sheet design is substantially more fuel-efficient than similarly sized competitors, and for airlines whose profitability is often tenuous at best, knocking 20% off of their Jet A fuel bills is a big deal. While the program has been slow going and fraught with very public delays, the 787 recorded its first revenue flight with passengers yesterday, a sign that deliveries should be ramping up for other first-adapter customers in the next several months. With rising analyst sentiment in Boeing, we're betting on shares of the firm this week.