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Dow Jones News: Boeing Upgraded; McDonald's Shuts Down Some Restaurants

By Timothy Green - Mar 23, 2020 at 1:01PM

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Boeing gets a buy rating despite multiple crises, and McDonald's is closing restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland.

Stocks were plunging again on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.24%) down 3.8% at 11:40 a.m. EDT. Dramatic actions from the Federal Reserve were unable to boost investor sentiment. The Fed is expanding existing purchases of U.S. Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, as well as launching new programs to support the economy during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing (BA -2.13%) was beating the market on Monday after the stock received an analyst upgrade, while shares of McDonald's (MCD 1.68%) were lower after the fast-food chain closed restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland.

Goldman touts Boeing

Shares of airplane manufacturer Boeing are near multiyear lows following a brutal decline over the past few weeks. As if the grounding of the 737 Max weren't enough, the collapse of air travel during the global novel coronavirus pandemic has put even more pressure on the company.

A plane in flight.

Image source: Getty Images.

Boeing has suspended its dividend, paused share buybacks, and reduced pay for its CEO and chairman to zero. The company has also requested at least $60 billion in financial aid from the U.S. government for itself and its suppliers, with the aim of maintaining the health of the supply chain.

Despite the existential crisis facing Boeing, Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to buy over the weekend. Goldman expects travel will be popular again once the crisis ends, which means a bright long-term outlook for commercial jet demand. Goldman set a price target of $173 on Boeing stock, compared to a current stock price around $100.

Boeing entered this crisis with a debt-laden balance sheet which had already been stretched by the grounding of the 737 Max. Total debt was $27.3 billion at the end of 2019, offset by cash and marketable securities of $10 billion. That's enough cash to last for a while, but if the supply chain is decimated, restarting production once this crisis passes won't be a quick process.

Boeing stock was up around 0.2% in the late morning. Shares are down roughly 75% from their 52-week high.

McDonald's closes U.K. and Ireland restaurants

Fast-food giant McDonald's is temporarily closing all its restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland by Monday evening to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. This is a step further than shutting down the dine-in area and offering drive-thru and takeout service only.

The company has also suspended its share buyback program. McDonald's spent billions of dollars buying back shares in 2019, and it authorized another $15 billion for buybacks in December.

In the United States, many states and cities have forced restaurants to offer takeout and delivery only to help slow the spread of the virus. McDonald's moved all its U.S. restaurants to drive-thru, takeout, and delivery last week. The company is also considering rent deferrals and other options to support its franchisees.

McDonald's should be well suited for a world where dining in isn't an option. However, its franchisees may need substantial financial support to get through this crisis. McDonald's stock was down 5% by late morning, and it's now down 36% from its 52-week high.

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Stocks Mentioned

McDonald's Corporation Stock Quote
McDonald's Corporation
$246.90 (1.68%) $4.07
The Boeing Company Stock Quote
The Boeing Company
$135.74 (-2.13%) $-2.96
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$31,022.38 (0.24%) $75.39

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