Investors of the world's largest aerospace company, Boeing Co. (BA) - Get Report , should be primed for strong fourth-quarter financial results, and further upside for the year ahead fueled by likely gains from the U.S. tax system overhaul.
The Chicago-based company is expected to report adjusted earnings of $2.89 per share on revenue of $24.6 billion, according to FactSet Research Systems Inc. For the full-year, analysts anticipate adjusted earnings of $10.15 per share on revenue of $92.5 billion.
This will be an especially important quarter for investors, analysts at Credit Suisse Group said, as shareholders will carefully evaluate updates on four key items: the 2018 tax rate; Boeing Commercial Airplanes margin improvement; 2018 organic Boeing Global Services sales growth; and, a 2018 buyback target.
"We anticipate continued momentum across the board will continue to drive shares in the near-term," the Credit Suisse analysts, including Robert Spingarn, wrote in a Jan. 19 research note. Credit Suisse rates Boeing stock at Outperform with a $375 price target.
The strength Boeing exhibits is multi-faceted, Credit Suisse analysts said, and reflects "outstanding airline traffic growth that continues to support record production and multi-year backlogs," cost reductions through supplier price step-downs and increasing automation, as well as rising margins and cash flows.
Meanwhile, analysts at Wells Fargo Securities LLC expect the $202.8 billion market cap company to, "show continued growth from the ramp-up of the 737 and introduction of the 787-10 offset by 777 declines."
Wells Fargo also forecasts $1.5 billion, fourth-quarter free cash flow, bringing full-year free cash flow to $10.7 billion. Looking beyond the quarterly results, they predict that free cash flow should grow in 2018, helped by lower tax rates. The firm has a Market Perform rating on Boeing shares.
"We had previously identified Boeing as a major beneficiary of the recent U.S. tax legislation," said the analyst team at Credit Suisse. "Boeing should benefit from favorable cost recovery provisions within the tax bill; its production ramps -- and associated factory tooling expenditures -- will allow it to generate significant cash tax savings."
Boeing was on track to generated nearly $12 billion of cash for 2017 prior to the tax reform, JPMorgan Securities LLC analysts, including Seth Seifman, wrote in a Jan.9 research note. The analysts now assume, due to the R&D credit in the tax legislation, that Boeing's effective tax rate will be lowered to 19% and boosted their 2018 and 2019 FCF estimates to $13.1 billion and $13.9 billion, respectively.
"Year-over-year improvement in cash flow should come from 787, increased 737 production, pension and Tanker, partially offset by 777," the J.P. Morgan analysts said. The firm rates Boeing at Overweight with a $360 price target.
"While Boeing has been strong out of the gate in 2018, we still see double-digit upside this year," said the JPMorgan analysts.
There are 15 Buys and 14 Holds on the stock, according to Bloomberg data.
Shares of Boeing had fallen 0.7% to $340.65 around 12:30 p.m. Monday. The stock is up 103% year over year, however.
Boeing is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results Wednesday, Jan. 31, before the opening bell. The conference call with analysts will follow at 10:30 a.m.
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