The Boeing Company Kicks off 2014 With a Bang

Boeing's stock soared nearly 80% last yearand the Boeing has a track record of returning value to shareholders in many ways. Expect 2014 to be a similar story.

Jan 7, 2014 at 2:41PM

Despite headaches with Boeing's (NYSE:BA) 787 Dreamliner for travelers and investors alike, there's no question the company soared in 2013 -- up nearly 80% last year. The aviation juggernaut isn't planning to take a breather in 2014 either, and it's kicked off the year with three big headlines.


Boeing secures commitment from Air Algerie. Photo credit: Boeing.

On Monday, Boeing announced a commitment from Air Algerie for eight next-generation 737-800 airplanes, a deal worth $724 million at list prices. Boeing's 737 family continues to be the most technologically advanced single-aisle airplane family, and investors cheer the airplane for its market base, superior efficiency, and low operating costs. All of which is good news considering the growth Boeing expects to see in the segment over the next 20 years.

Investors received another positive note from Boeing on Monday when it announced that its largest single-aisle airplane order in the Middle East was finalized. The order from flydubai is for 75 737-MAX 8s and 11 next-generation 737-800s. Those total up to a value of $8.8 billion at list prices, and flydubai retains purchase rights for an additional 25 737 MAXs. As the rest of Boeing's orders from the 2013 Dubai Airshow are finalized, expect to see Boeing's already gigantic order backlog of $415 billion to reach nearly half a trillion. As that happens, 2014 will be an important year for the company to begin ramping up production on its aircraft and improve deliveries to customers and value to shareholders.

Record 2013
Speaking of increasing deliveries in 2014, Boeing closed out 2013 by setting a record for the most commercial airplanes delivered in a single year: 648. Considering Boeing posted company records for deliveries, as well as for unfilled commercial orders, it's no wonder investors were ready to jump into the stock, sending it 80% higher in 2013.

Graph by author. Source: Boeing's 20-year forecast. 

Last year, three programs set records for deliveries. Boeing's 737 program delivered 440 next-generation 737s and its 777 program delivered nearly 100 airplanes. Finally, despite major headaches and doom and gloom headlines, the 787 Dreamliner program delivered 65 airplanes.

"The year ahead will be exciting as we prepare to deliver the first 787-9, continue the design work on our newest programs -- the 737 MAX, 787-10 and 777X -- while increasing our production rates on the 737," said Boeing commercial airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner in a press release. "We'll remain focused on meeting our customer commitments by delivering the best products and services."

On the dotted line
Investors are all hoping to avoid the production delays, problems, and budget overruns seen with Boeing's 787 program as the company looks to begin production of its 777X program. Currently, Boeing's Everett, Wash., plant is producing much of the 777 family. However, the company threatened to take away at least part of the production if the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers union failed to agree to its new contract extension.

The biggest point of controversy on Boeing's new contract offer is that it replaced a pension-like retirement plan with a 401(k) contribution plan. There was much turmoil among union workers about whether they should to try and keep the pension plan at the risk of losing their jobs. The first vote in November rejected Boeing's offer -- 67% of the union voted against the proposal. The workers wanted their pensions, Washington state wanted to secure thousands of jobs, Boeing wanted to cut its pension obligations while customers and investors wanted to make sure production was secured with an experienced workforce that would lead to on-time deliveries.

Politicians close to the development commented that Boeing had said that if last Friday's vote rejected the proposal, it would at the very least take the wing production of its 777X out of Washington state, with the final assembly yet to be determined.

For investors, it's a problem that won't need to be digested as Friday's vote narrowly passed Boeing's new proposal by a 51% to 49% margin. This removes a big uncertainty for investors and also assures Boeing that the machinists' union won't strike until 2024.

Bottom line
Boeing has a lot of momentum carrying it from 2013 into the new year. What's more, it can offer revenue transparency that few companies can on a giant backlog of orders valued between $415 billion and $500 billion, depending on when recent orders are finalized. It's also substantially increased its dividend by 50% to $0.73 per share, and has authorized an additional $10 billion for the company's share repurchase program. The company may not produce an 80% appreciation in share price in 2014, but Boeing has a long track record of delivering shareholder value through multiple avenues -- don't expect that to reverse this year. 

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Fool contributor Daniel Miller has no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.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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