Why Boeing Has Been Flying High

The year is nearing its end, and now is a good time to look at what happened throughout 2012 to the stocks you follow. If you know the important things that a company achieved, as well as any challenges it failed to overcome, then you can make a better decision about whether it really deserves a spot in your portfolio.

Today, I'll look at Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) . As a member of the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) , the company is one of the two major commercial aerospace giants in the world, doing battle with Europe's Airbus for supremacy of the skies. Its innovative new designs have drawn a lot of demand, even as the company has struggled with production and execution problems. Below, you'll find more on what moved shares of Boeing in 2012.

Stats on Boeing

Year-to-Date Stock Return

5.5%

Market Cap

$57.2 billion

Total Revenue, Trailing 12 Months

$79 billion

Net Income, Trailing 12 Months

$4.32 billion

1-Year Revenue Growth

20.1%

1-Year Earnings Growth

13.9%

Dividend Yield

2.4%

CAPS Rating

****

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

What helped Boeing gain altitude this year?
2012 was a banner year for Boeing in terms of orders. The aircraft maker has taken new orders for 1,156 jets for the year as of Dec. 4, with only 104 cancellations leaving it with 1,052 net orders. That's well ahead of Airbus' 585, making 2012 likely to be the first year since 2006 that Boeing beats out its rival in order count. Boeing has also delivered 537 aircraft in 2012.

But the long-term opportunity for Boeing is even stronger. A backlog of 800 undelivered 787 Dreamliner planes and close to 3,000 737s marks a truly amazing pool of potential revenue for the company, and Boeing projected this year that the aircraft market should see $4.5 trillion in passenger-jet orders between now and 2032. And despite the rise of regional-jet producers Embraer and Bombardier, Boeing has still held onto its leadership role in large jets.

Still, Boeing hasn't had everything go off without a hitch. The Dreamliner has had major technical issues that have led to highly public problems recently, one of which caused an emergency landing of a United Continental (NYSE: UAL  ) plane. With the FAA now requiring additional inspections, the attendant delays will be just one more issue for Boeing to deal with.

The company has also had to deal with labor problems. With its engineers' union working on an expired contract that dates back to a time when negotiations put the future of the Dreamliner into jeopardy, talks this time around have been slow and thus far unproductive. A potential strike could be catastrophic not just for Boeing, but also for suppliers General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , Honeywell (NYSE: HON  ) , and hosts of others, making federal mediation incredibly important.

Boeing's 2012 has been reasonably strong. Its future will depend on its resolving its long-held problems and executing better.

Learn more
2012 has treated Boeing pretty well, but smart shareholders are focusing on whether Boeing is a buy for 2013. Get our latest
research report on the aircraft maker and listen to what two of the Fool's best industrial-sector minds see as the key issues for Boeing next year and beyond. They'll be updating the report as key news hits, so be sure to claim a copy today by clicking here now.

Click here to add Boeing to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.


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