What happened

Shares of Boeing (NYSE:BA) are down 2.2% in 1:15 p.m. EST trading Friday afternoon. The industrial giant of aerospace remains apparently mired in red ink from the stock market sell-off earlier today.

That's a crying shame because the news for Boeing is actually pretty good today.

A stationary Boeing 737 on an airport runway.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Take Wall Street, for example. This morning, reports TheFly.com, Canaccord Genuity upgraded Boeing stock to "buy" on its belief that air travel will recover this year, and airlines will resume buying airplanes. This bodes well for increased deliveries of Boeing's 737 MAX regional airliner and, in return for those delivered airplanes, "significantly improved free cash flow in 2021," says TheFly.

And yet, with Boeing's free cash flow deeply in the red at present -- $19.7 billion burnt in 2020 -- "improvement" doesn't necessarily imply that Boeing will generate positive free cash flow cash this year. It might simply burn less of it. Indeed, when we read that Canaccord is projecting "positive cash generation in 2022," that seems to imply that it will in fact not generate cash in 2021. (Again, it will just burn less of it.)

Now what

Is that good enough to justify Canaccord's new buy rating and its assertion that Boeing stock is worth $275 a share? Investors don't seem to think so, and this would explain why Boeing stock is still down today.

Even so, when taken in conjunction with today's other news -- that the governments of the United States and the European Union have just struck a deal to suspend their tariffs on Airbus (OTC:EADSY) and on Boeing, respectively -- Canaccord's optimistic projections do tend to brighten the outlook for Boeing stock incrementally. If the U.S. and EU are finally ready to put down their swords and stop arguing over which of them is granted too many illegal subsidies to their respective "national champions" in airplane manufacturing, this just might turn out to be good news for both Boeing and Airbus.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.