Boeing Jet Business Improves

Boeing's ( BA) commercial and defense jet businesses delivered more planes in the second quarter of this year than it did a year ago, but the company's shares continued to fall after hitting a two-year high last week.

The aerospace giant said it delivered a total of 75 commercial planes in the second quarter, one better than the 74 it delivered a year ago. That brings its year-to-date total to 151, better than the 145 it had halfway through 2003.

On the defense side of the business, the company said it delivered 12 F/A-18s in the quarter, up from nine a year ago. Other parts of the defense business didn't perform quite as well. The carrier sold one F-15, the same as last year, while it only sold one satellite, down from two last year.

Boeing shares fell 71 cents, or 1.4%, to $49.19.

In recent weeks, shares of the company have been on the rise, hitting a two-year high of $50.78 on June 24. Optimism about Boeing's rising business fundamentals has started to offset the taint from an ethics scandal that has put some government contracts in question and triggered the resignation of Boeing's CEO in late 2003.

On Tuesday, Lehman Brothers boosted its price target on the company to $60 from $55, telling investors the company was poised to deliver more planes in 2005 than currently expected. (Lehman Brothers does and seeks to do business with the companies covered in its research reports.)

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