Boeing Pares Gains as China Regulators Suspend 737 MAX 8 Safety Certification

Boeing (BA - Get Report) shares pared gains Tuesday as officials in China moved to suspend safety certifications for the 737 MAX 8 and European rival Airbus SE (EADSY)  inked a $34 billion order with Beijing that matches a similar-sized deal made with the world's biggest planemaker during a 2017 visit to China by President Donald Trump.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said Tuesday it had stopped taking new applications for 737 MAX 8 airworthiness as of March 21, confirming an earlier media report that came as Airbus agreed to sell China Aviation Supplies Holding Company 300 new planes worth around €30 billion ($34 billion) at list prices.

"The conclusion of a big contract is an important step forward and an excellent signal in the current context" of relations between France and China, French President Emmanuel Macron said during a joint press conference with China's Xi Jinping.

Last week, Boeing faced losing a $6 billion order for the 737 MAX 8 after Indonesia's national airline moved to cancel or amend a previous agreement for the controversial aircraft in what would be the first first formal cancellation of MAX 8 deliveries that could trigger broader concerns for the back order log of nearly 5,000 units with a list value of around $600 billion.

Boeing shares were seen 0.7% higher Tuesday, after rising as much as 1.4% in pre-market, to change hands at $372.79 each, following yesterday's 2.2% gain, and a move that would mark the best two-day advance since early February. 

Airbus shares, meanwhile, were marked 2.3% higher at €116.66 each by mid-day in Paris, taking year-to-date gains for the France-based group to around 38.8%.

News of both the China certification halt, and Airbus' record new order, comes amid reports that a preliminary findings of the investigation into Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed all 157 passengers shortly after crashing shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10, could be released in the coming days.

Boeing, for its part, has invited more than 200 airline pilots, technical leaders and regulators would travel to its Renton, Washington manufacturing base for an informational session on software and training updates for its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation, or MCAS, system Wednesday.

The event come as  the world's biggest planemaker moved to convince the global aviation industry that software changes in the flight system of its 737 MAX series would address safety concerns clouding the aircraft following to fatal accidents over three months.

"This is part of our ongoing effort to share more details about our plan for supporting the safe return of the 737 MAX to commercial service," Boeing said in a statement posted on its website. "We had a productive session this past Saturday and plan to reach all current and many future MAX operators and their home regulators."

"At the same time, we continue to work closely with our customers and regulators on software and training updates for the 737 MAX. Boeing is paying for the development of these updates," the statement added.