Boeing Flies to Japan, Walks Back

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Alas, poor Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) . I knew it well.

Last month was a good one to be a Boeing shareholder. The company confirmed that its 787 Dreamliner saga, long delayed, was finally coming to a close. The plane was on track to land in Japan on July 4 for test flights with All Nippon Airways. Deliveries to airlines hither and yon would soon follow. Best of all, Boeing was still on record saying the plane would be "profitable." Now that assertion is open to question.

Late last week, Boeing began walking back from its profits promise. The reason: "financial headwinds" from production delays and potential penalty payouts. The fear is that airlines and suppliers will soon follow the lead of Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE: SPR  ) , which demanded penalties for production delays, and Air India, which threatens to make similar claims for delays in delivery.

The result: Boeing CEO Jim McNerney now says that despite developing what it at one time called the most successful airplane it ever launched, Boeing won't earn a penny of profit on the plane "for some time."

Foolish takeaway
Boeing shares topped out near $80 a share last month. With the P/S now approaching the average for aerospace companies, and Boeing's profit warning putting a cap on P/E expectations, that 20% gain may be all we get out of Boeing this year.

My advice: Consider shifting your Boeing winnings to investments that still have a chance of making a buck on the 787 -- suppliers such as General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , Honeywell (NYSE: HON  ) , and Spirit. At 20 times earnings and paying a healthy 2.3% dividend, Honeywell doesn't look nearly as overpriced as Boeing does today. Spirit has a PEG ratio close to 1.0. And General Electric … well, you already know what I think about General Electric. If you have high hopes for Boeing's new airplane, GE may be your best bet yet.

Who's the biggest beneficiary of the 787 boom: GE or Boeing itself? Add both stocks to your Fool Watchlist and find out.

Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, but Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares of any company named above.

We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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10/21/2016 4:03 PM
BA $135.63 Down -0.21 -0.15%
Boeing CAPS Rating: ****
GE $28.98 Down -0.09 -0.31%
General Electric CAPS Rating: ****
HON $108.96 Up +0.82 +0.76%
Honeywell Internat… CAPS Rating: ****
SPR $48.17 Down -0.07 -0.15%
Spirit AeroSystems… CAPS Rating: **