Boeing Lags the Dow After Latest Battery Problem

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has recovered 0.66% in late trading today, after dropping 1.09% on Monday. Earnings season is just getting under way, with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo this morning reporting numbers that were decent but not spectacular. The mortgage refinance market is drying up for the two biggest mortgage lenders and that's been a drag on results recently.

One stock that isn't participating in the higher market is Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) after another battery issue. The stock has fallen 0.8% today and is one of just five Dow stocks in the red.

More nightmares with the Dreamliner
Boeing confirmed today that gas escaped from a battery on a Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliner, the same aircraft line that was grounded last year because of two battery fires. There weren't any passengers aboard at the time, and Boeing said only a single cell released the gas, but it's a reminder of what a challenge the 787 Dreamliner has been for the company.  

Japanese regulators are investigating the latest battery issue and it'll be days before we know the exact cause. What's troublesome is that the battery debacle last year garnered so much attention and so many resources from Boeing that investors hoped the issue was resolved.

This also reminds us that a high-flying stock can be hit by even minor bad news. Boeing led the Dow Jones Industrial Average last year and is up 89% in the past year, so expectations are high for the company.

Can Boeing's strong run continue?
After the stock's strong run in the past 12 months, Boeing's forward P/E ratio is already at 18.5, which is expensive for such a mature company. There's no doubt it will benefit from the long-term trend of increased air travel worldwide, and already has billions in orders lined up, but the challenge will be executing on those high expectations. Today's 787 battery issue is just another reminder that while there's high expectations for the future, the execution on its flagship aircraft hasn't been very good and that presents risk for investors.

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