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Boeing Co., the world's #2 commercial airplane maker and #2 defense contractor, said this morning that Q4 profits more than doubled to $989 million ($1.29/share) from $460m ($0.58) in Q4 2005, on revenues of $17.5b (+26%) -- handily beating analyst estimates of $0.98 and $16b. Margins expanded to Boeing 31 01 2007 Chart8.7% due to higher operating leverage and productivity improvements, partially offset by planned R&D spending increases. Deliveries were up 37% to 395 commercial aircraft, the most since 2001, and overall orders of 1,044 set a company record and beat rival Airbus for the first time since 2000. Boeing forecasts as many as 445 deliveries in 2007 (vs. Airbus's 440-450), and says it will take the #1 spot in 2008. Boeing is spending $635 million to make sure its Dreamliner 787 will arrive on time (2008). Its 450-passenger 747-8 (2010) has been grabbing market share from Airbus, which has experienced numerous delays with the production of its 550-passenger A380, now slated (2 years late) for 2009. Shares were up $2.67 to $88.67 (3.1%) in pre-market trading.

• Sources: Press Release, Bloomberg, MarketWatch
• Commentary: Boeing Is Flying High

• Stocks and ETFs to watch: Boeing Co. (BA). Competitors: Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC). ETFs: iShares Dow Jones US Aerospace & Defense (ITA), PowerShares Aerospace & Defense (PPA) [7.9%], iShares Dow Jones US Aerospace & Defense (ITA) [9.6%]

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Source: Boeing's Earnings Fly, So Do Shares