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Dow Jones News: Apple Production Problems; Boeing Upgraded

By Timothy Green - Feb 10, 2020 at 11:29AM

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A big Apple supplier is reportedly facing delays restarting production, and Boeing stock received a buy rating.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.27%) was rallying Monday morning, up 0.28% at 10:25 a.m. EST. This is despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that originated in China. The virus has now claimed more than 900 lives and infected over 40,000 people globally. The death toll has surpassed that of the SARS outbreak in 2003.

The coronavirus is threatening the global economy by disrupting supply chains and hurting demand. Shares of Apple (AAPL 2.14%) were down on Monday as its dependence on China for manufacturing threatened to cause supply problems. Meanwhile, Boeing (BA 1.26%) stock rallied following some optimistic analyst commentary late last week.

Production problems for Apple

Workers were scheduled to return to work at Chinese factories operated by Foxconn on Monday, but it seems that the situation isn't so cut and dried. Foxconn, which assembles Apple products including the iPhone, has reportedly told some employees that it's postponing the resumption of production.

The iPhone 11.

Image source: Apple.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Foxconn sent a message through its internal app saying that a back-to-work date wouldn't be decided until further notice. It's not known how many employees received the message. Foxconn declined to comment to Bloomberg, only saying that its factories would comply with government requirements.

Apple relies on China for the production of many of its products. The disruption to manufacturing caused by the coronavirus outbreak has the potential to disrupt supply and hurt Apple's sales. Last week, an analyst at TF International Securities reduced his estimate for first-quarter iPhone shipments by 10%, citing the impact of the outbreak. On Monday, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the reports of Foxconn's delay a "shock to the system."

Apple stock was down 0.6% on the news, failing to match the gains of the broader market. The company anticipated some problems when it reported its quarterly results last month, providing a wide revenue guidance range that accounted for some uncertainty related to the coronavirus outbreak.

The market is still optimistic on Apple, despite the coronavirus issues. The stock is up 86% over the past year, and its valuation is historically high.

Boeing upgraded amid 737 Max crisis

There was some bad news for airplane manufacturer and defense company Boeing last Friday. A NASA safety review panel found that the company's Starliner spacecraft had a software bug that could have caused a catastrophic failure during a December test flight. That flight was cut short due to a separate issue.

Later on Friday, Boeing received a little bit of good news. Analyst John Sullivan of Benchmark initiated coverage on the beleaguered stock, rating it a "buy" and attaching a $375 price target. That optimistic evaluation may be contributing to the stock being up 2.1% Monday morning.

Sullivan doesn't see any fundamental problems with the fixes that Boeing has proposed for the 737 Max, which was grounded following two fatal flights caused by flaws in a software system. Instead, he believes that the FAA and Boeing are mostly at odds over the timeline for the plane's return. Sullivan expects the 737 Max to be approved once regulators have time to evaluate the fixes.

Sullivan also cited new CEO Dave Calhoun and his prioritization of restoring public confidence in the company and the 737 Max as a reason for the buy rating.

While Boeing managed a solid gain Monday, the stock still has a long way to go. Shares are down 15% over the past year, and down 22% from their 52-week high.

Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$172.10 (2.14%) $3.61
The Boeing Company Stock Quote
The Boeing Company
$169.99 (1.26%) $2.11
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$33,761.05 (1.27%) $424.38

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