Will Tomorrow's Boeing Earnings Take Off?

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) is scheduled to release its quarterly earnings report tomorrow, and after a tumultuous first half of 2013, investors are hoping for good news. The aerospace giant has handled the many distractions relating to the issues with its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft quite well, and Boeing's earnings look poised to post the substantial growth that shareholders have been waiting to see.

Boeing's share-price gains make the stock the second-best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) this year, and long-term fundamentals support the bullish case for the company for years to come. But will Boeing manage to avoid further obstacles that could put the brakes on its high-growth trajectory? Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Boeing over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Boeing

Analyst EPS Estimate

$1.58

Change From Year-Ago EPS

24%

Revenue Estimate

$20.78 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

3.9%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

4

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Can Boeing earnings beat estimates again this quarter?
In recent months, analysts have grown more optimistic about Boeing's earnings, raising their June-quarter estimates by a penny per share but boosting their full-year 2013 forecasts by $0.14 per share. The stock has breathed a sigh of relief, climbing almost 25% since mid-April.

With all the news about the Dreamliner, many investors failed to notice that this year's Boeing earnings have been strong. In its first-quarter report, the company managed to crush earnings expectations with a 20% rise in net income despite a 3% drop in revenue for the quarter. With plane-production numbers keeping stable from year-ago figures, Boeing reaffirmed its guidance for the year, even with its 787 Dreamliner grounded for much of the quarter.

Of course, the Dreamliner continues to dominate headlines about Boeing. Late in April, news that the plane had received FAA clearance to start flying again led to new optimism about the company. Yet earlier this month, the stock temporarily plunged after a fire aboard a 787 in London renewed fears about the aircraft's viability. Even worse, yesterday's landing-gear collapse aboard a Southwest Airlines-owned 737 once again painted Boeing in a negative light by raising new quality concerns about one of its biggest workhorse aircraft models.

Yet despite those concerns, Boeing doesn't have many direct competitors that airlines could turn to for alternatives. Rival Airbus has seen its own order backlog skyrocket to more than 5,100 planes in the face of large new orders, leaving it ill-prepared to handle a mass movement of customers away from Boeing. Embraer (NYSE: ERJ  ) , which specializes in regional jets, is expected to see its profit double for the June quarter amid accelerating earnings growth, but it has no plans to start producing large-scale aircraft that could meet airlines needs. The same is true for Textron (NYSE: TXT  ) , whose Cessna division has seen its segment revenue jump more than 20% in the past two years. Catering to the corporate-jet and small-aircraft market, Cessna poses no threat to Boeing, leaving the aerospace giant's customers without viable alternatives to obtain commercial-sized jetliners.

Moreover, Boeing might get some help from the military side of its business. Following the critical design review of its KC-46A tanker aircraft, the company issued a statement saying it believes the Air Force will approve the plane. With $52 billion in potential revenue from the tanker contract, the news would be good not only for Boeing, but also a host of subcontractors on the project that include engine-maker United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney division and radar-warning system maker Raytheon.

In tomorrow's Boeing earnings report, look past the Dreamliner to see how the company's overall production backlog and flow-through are going. If the company is able to get past its challenges and keep getting aircraft through the assembly process and out the door, then Boeing's earnings could grow substantially in the years to come.

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  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2013, at 10:11 PM, medguy1 wrote:

    Heck, with the amount of Bribe Money this company puts into Congress, there is no way it is going to lose money..literally. Congress will let the country be destroyed before they stop taking defense bribes. Look at the KC-45. 'Lost 3 times to Airbus, in a contest that the rules were changed to favor them in all 3 rounds..and still lost. It was only until the USAF in effect tailored the requirement to the -45 that they could win. So the taxpayers get the smaller, less efficient, less useful aircraft, while paying billions more for it. Same deal the "Star Wars" program, 30 years later, Boeing is still taking in a billion a year from that turkey, and it STILL is decades away from making a transponder-free intercept.

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