What happened

The battered stock of Boeing (NYSE:BA), down by more than half over the past year, won a reprieve on Wednesday, and was up 6% as of 12:35 p.m. EDT today.

Boeing 737 viewed head on

A Boeing 737. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The latest news on Boeing doesn't sound very good. Tuesday, just before the close of trading, the news agency Agence France-Presse reported that because of the coronavirus, Boeing's beleaguered 737 MAX won't be able to perform a key test flight until May.  

Boeing had been targeting a return to the air for its 737 MAX by mid-2020, and the company says it's still hoping that will happen. The delay in the Federal Aviation Administration test flight, originally set for April, will make that more difficult.

And later Tuesday, after close of trading, CNBC reported that two new software issues with plane's flight control computer have been discovered.  

Now what

Again, Boeing insists that fixing these issues won't prevent the plane from returning to service by midyear. But the more such issues crop up, the less likely it would appear that Boeing will be able to meet its desired timeline. Despite this, however, investors' first reaction this morning was to bid Boeing stock up, not down.

With no news specifically benefiting Boeing today, it's worth noting that Tuesday night, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, publicly predicted that "by the time we get to the fall that we will have this [coronavirus] under control."

While declining to give absolute assurance on that prediction, Fauci said he still thinks "we're going to be in good shape" by autumn, which would obviously be good news for stocks in general.

To investors' minds, it seems, this good news for stocks in general outweighs any bad news about Boeing in particular.