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Why Boeing Stock Barreled 15% Higher on Today's Coronavirus Stimulus

By Rich Smith - Mar 26, 2020 at 12:51PM

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The coronavirus relief bill seems to promise billions for Boeing.

What happened

Boeing (BA -1.85%) stock tore out of the gate on Wednesday, and never looked back, racking up more than a 24% gain by the close of trading. It's running away with the market again here at the 12:10 p.m. EDT minute mark on Thursday -- up 14.9%.

You can thank the U.S. Senate for that.

Boeing 737 MAX in flight

Image source: Boeing.

So what

Last night, the Senate finally passed its $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act -- the CARES Act. And while it doesn't name Boeing specifically as a recipient of aid, it's pretty clear that the Seattle plane-maker will be a primary beneficiary.

Among other provisions, the measure -- designed as a financial stimulus to companies damaged by coronavirus -- creates a $500 billion fund that will be used to extend loans and loan guarantees to large companies (such as Boeing) affected by COVID-19.  

The CARES Act also contains financial assistance for defense stocks in particular, delivering $17 billion in loans and loan guarantees to "businesses critical to maintaining national security." Boeing, which according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence gets 34% of its revenues from sales of defense, space, and security products, certainly qualifies for this aid as well.

Now what

There is one caveat to be aware of before buying Boeing in hopes the Senate's action will save the company:

According to the text of the bill, companies accepting loans and loan guarantees under the CARES Act "shall not pay dividends or make other capital distributions" to their shareholders -- i.e., buy back stock -- "until the date 12 months after the date the loan or loan guarantee is no longer outstanding."  

Granted, that may not make too much difference for investors in Boeing right now, seeing as Boeing suspended its dividend last week. But it does probably mean that if Boeing takes the government money, that dividend isn't coming back anytime soon -- not for the next year at least.


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