What happened

Shares of Boeing (NYSE:BA) were enjoying one of their better months of 2020 in October until the month's final days. Then earnings were released, and the stock tumbled to a 12.6% loss for the month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, in October's final days.

BA Chart

BA data by YCharts

So what

Boeing shares have lost more than half of their value in 2020 as a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the company's ongoing 737 MAX issues have weighed on the stock. Airlines have been among the hardest hit sectors in the pandemic, and with air traffic expected to take years to recover it is a difficult climate to try to sell new planes.

A Boeing 747 in flight.

Image source: Boeing.

But the news on the 737 MAX is growing increasingly positive, and thanks to a $25 billion debt raise earlier in the year, Boeing has the cash to ride out the storm. Still, when investors got a fresh reminder of Boeing's issues after it released third-quarter results Oct. 28, a new round of selling kicked in.

Boeing reported a loss of $1.39 per share, better than the $2.32 per share loss estimate, but most of the improvement was thanks to a reduction in one-time charges. The company burned through $5.1 billion in the quarter and has now bled through $15.4 billion for the year.

Now what

The good news is the worst is likely over for Boeing. Assuming the 737 MAX is cleared to return to service by year-end the company can finally start to stem its cash bleed as deliveries resume. The bad news is that even though the worst is over, the recovery remains years away.

Boeing will need a year or more to work through the inventory of more than 400 737 MAX jets that have been built but not yet delivered, and is scaling back future year production plans for its entire portfolio due to expected declines in airplane sales. The company also now has more than $60 billion in debt, nearly six times its total from just a few years ago.

The earnings report was a fresh reminder there isn't much reason to get excited about Boeing right now. The shares traded off as a result.

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