What happened

This week Boeing (BA -0.33%) delivered another quarter of losses and one-time charges, and investors responded by heading for the exits. Shares of the aerospace giant were down more than 12% for the week as of Thursday afternoon, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as investors recalculate how long this turnaround is going to take.

So what

Wall Street came into Boeing's earnings report with low expectations, and still managed to be disappointed. The company lost $2.75 per share on revenue of $14 billion, falling short of the consensus estimate for a $0.12-per-share loss on revenue of $15.83 billion.

Four airplanes fly in the clouds.

Image source: Boeing.

Boeing has been struggling for years, first due to issues with its 737 MAX, which led to an 18-month grounding, and then due to a pandemic-induced airline industry slowdown. The 737 MAX is flying again, and the airlines appear to be on the mend, but Boeing remains sluggish. The latest quarter was impacted by about $1 billion in charges related to two military programs, the new Air Force One and the T-7A trainer.

The company is making slow but steady progress in ramping up 737 MAX production, but continues to have issues with its 787 Dreamliner and the new version of its 777, which had originally been scheduled to be flying now, was delayed until at least 2025.

The results led at least a half dozen Wall Street analysts to lower their price targets on the stock, which in turn helped fuel a new round of selling the day after earnings. Given Boeing's issues, it is hard to see a quick turnaround.

Now what

J.P. Morgan analyst Seth Seifman, in lowering the bank's price target to $190 from $235, said the path for Boeing from here is "simple in theory but more challenging in practice." Boeing needs to deliver more airplanes if it is to achieve its goal of recording positive free cash flow in 2022, but that means working out its engineering difficulties and regaining the confidence of regulators.

If you have a long enough time horizon, there is still a lot to like about Boeing shares. Over the next two decades global travel demand is expected to grow at an annualized rate of more than 3%, creating significant demand for new airframes. Boeing, as half of a duopoly with Airbus, should capture a lot of that demand.

Alas, that bull case was just as credible a year ago, and Boeing shares are down 36% in the last 365 days. The first-quarter results were a reminder that the company, though well off its lows, is still a complex mess that has a lot of work ahead to get operations running smoothly. Until Boeing can deliver a quarter that shows its house is in order and it is returning to business as usual, it could be difficult for this stock to get airborne.