What happened

It's finally happening. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Senate leaders collected enough votes to pass -- soon, hopefully -- a $2 trillion stimulus deal to counteract the effects of locking down the American economy to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Full details remain to be disclosed, but the media are reporting that today, the bill in question includes a one-time direct payment of $1,200 to every adult American earning under $75,000, plus $500 per child. $150 billion is being made available as federal loans to state and local governments, $100 billion more for hospitals, at least $350 billion for small businesses, and $500 billion for larger corporations.  

It's that last bit that's getting investors in top aerospace stocks Boeing (NYSE:BA), TransDigm (NYSE:TDG), and General Electric (NYSE:GE) excited.

As of 11:15 a.m. EDT, shares of Boeing stock are up a staggering 25.8%, while TransDigm is up a more modest 3.1%, and GE 2.7%. All three stocks were up even more earlier in the day -- Boeing 28%, TransDigm 12%, and GE a bit more than 7%.

A Boeing 737 Max in flight.

Image source: Boeing.

So what

While not all the details are out just yet (and it's also possible those details could change between now and the Senate vote), The Hill reports that at least $25 billion in "direct financial aid" will go to airlines, and another $4 billion to air freight carriers. By putting money in the pockets of companies that buy airplanes, the government will indirectly support the businesses of Boeing, TransDigm, and GE (which makes engines for jet airplanes). Moreover, the $500 billion in loans to larger corporations might help these companies even more directly.

Now what

Why are these stocks coming off their highs as the morning drags on -- and why are TransDigm and GE in particular down to just low-single-digit gains? Partly, I suspect that's because the details of how the $500 billion will be doled out, and supervised, remain to be confirmed. Partly, it's because airlines had sought closer to $58 billion in assistance (says CNBC), but based on these early reports, will get only half that.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was quick to declare "at last we have a deal" late last night, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer agreed that "the largest rescue package in American history" is on its way, the details remain unclear -- and there's still time for investors to be disappointed.