Quarterly results are coming fast and furious now for companies in the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) , and we've already seen a number of fresh financial reports from the consumer and financial sectors. Tomorrow morning, Boeing (NYSE: BA ) will add its name to the list of reporting Dow components, and although most investors will watch the commercial side of its aircraft business, defense competitors Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) and Raytheon (NYSE: RTN ) will keep an eye on how well their rival is doing with military sales.
Boeing will release its latest quarterly results on Wednesday morning before the stock market opens. The company has scheduled a conference call for 10:30 a.m. EDT to discuss the results.
Investors have high hopes for Boeing's earnings, with a modest rise in revenue expected to produce a sizable 20% jump in earnings per share for the aerospace giant. Coming on the heels of four straight quarters of positive surprises on the earnings front, Boeing shareholders would like to see even more signs of strength from the company.
Most of those watching Boeing have paid closest attention to its soaring commercial aircraft business. Strength in the airline industry has freed up capital for companies to spend on new and updated airplanes, and Boeing's newer models offer huge advantages in fuel savings and operational efficiency that make airlines' investment in purchasing planes pay off in the long run. Boeing now estimates the size of the commercial aircraft market to be $5.2 trillion over the next 20 years, and the company wants to make sure it gets its share of the more than 36,000 planes it believes customers will buy from manufacturers during that time frame.
In this context, many investors haven't noticed some of the news hitting Boeing's defense business. Boeing finally got some good news on its Ground-based Midcourse Defense missile-defense system, with a test late last month marking the program's first successful intercept in more than five years. Boeing was also part of a team including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin that won a bid to provide Qatar with helicopters and defense systems worth about $11 billion. Even as the U.S. defense budget remains under pressure, Boeing has successfully defended much of its business and has also reaped rewards by looking abroad.
With geopolitical risk on the rise again, the Dow Jones Industrials have often come under pressure when threat levels increased. Yet Boeing provides a natural hedge against military threats, as its business stands to gain from heightened security levels. Be sure to remember Boeing's importance for the commercial aircraft market and global security as you assess its results tomorrow morning.
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