Major Singapore orders or not, Boeing appears to have entered a more stable period, with fewer peaks and valleys. "The decade out in front of us looks more stable than any decade I've seen in this industry," McNerney said, citing "strong market stability in our production environment only executing derivatives, not taking big development risks, which enables us to drive productivity and partnering for success on a more sustainable basis."
On Wednesday, Boeing ramped up production of a most-established prized product, the 737, to 42 airplanes a month. Since 2010, production of the 737 has increased from 31.5 airplanes a month to 42, with production scheduled to increase to 47 airplanes a month in 2017.
Also contributing to stability is the 10-year deal Boeing signed last month with the International Association of Machinists, after an agonized period when Boeing threatened not to put 777X work in Seattle, where most of its workers are. "We now have this unbelievable 10-year opportunity," McNerney said. "When we have a strike for six weeks, it costs us a couple of billion dollars."
As for 787 problems, McNerney said the company has been "adding people down in Charleston over the last couple of days to address a bottleneck we have in the mid-body assembly area, which I view as not any sign that the 787 is off the rails. This is what we do all the time, find bottlenecks and fix them." He said the mid-body is the aircraft section with the most differentiation between the 787-8 and the 787-9.Sterne Agee analyst Peter Arment said he considers Boeing's pullback to represent a buying opportunity. He said Boeing faces the problem of selling current 777s when the updated 777X is projected to enter service around 2020, but said Boeing has the ability to discount the current model in order to maintain production flow, just as it has done for airlines anticipating the 737MAX. Shares currently trade at a multiple of 16.5 times consensus 2014 earnings as estimated by Thomson Reuters. "We believe Boeing stock has solid valuation support at current levels and investors should get very aggressive if BA stock breaks $120 per share in this current market sell-off," Arment wrote recently, with shares trading at $123.08. Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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