One of the best performing stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) last year – The Boeing Co.’s (BA - Analyst Report) stock price fell by more than 2% yesterday – the most in the last two months and the biggest loser in the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday, following a defeat of the U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia in a primary election.
The defeat came as a blow to the aerospace giant as the market comprehended a threat to the congressional reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank), the official export credit agency of the country.
The Ex-Im agency assists in financing the export of U.S. goods to international markets and on the same line facilitates foreign airlines without deep pockets to buy pricey aircraft. Boeing had expected this Ex-Im service to fetch $10 billion in sales this year. The Republican to whom Cantor lost had earlier indicated that the U.S. should exit the Ex-Im facility in a drive to cut government spending. Now Boeing investors are worried about the company losing out on potential sales.
Besides Boeing, 24 other companies in the total list of 30 on the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index reported in the red on Wednesday, putting it down by 102.04 points, or 0.6%, to 16,843.88 because of a weak forecast from the World Bank on the global economy. The shock came after the index closed at a record high on Tuesday.
The World Bank now expects the world economy to grow 2.8% this year instead of the 3.2% it predicted in January. A harsh winter in the U.S. and conflict in Ukraine were the primary reasons for the lower growth expectation.
Although Boeing’s share price was jolted by Cantor’s defeat, putting at risk the business-and-job friendly service of the Ex-Im Bank, the supremacy of the company in the commercial aerospace business is undisputed. Sitting on a backlog of $439.8 billion at the first quarter 2014 end, the company has been able to more than double the market's returns over the past two years.
A recovery from the financial crisis and consolidation within the industry have enabled airlines to place big orders for new airplanes with aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer SA (ERJ - Analyst Report).
This aerospace behemoth has already started the year on an impressive note, delivering strong first quarter 2014 results backed by robust deliveries. The company's top and bottom lines were above expectations. The company expects passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific region to rise by leaps and bounds driven by growing economies. Moreover, the company raised its 2014 forecast for core earnings per share to a range of $7.15 to $7.35, up 15 cents at both ends.
Recently, Boeing received a sizable firm order form Canada's largest airline, Air Canada, for a total of 61 Boeing single-aisle jets, worth $6.5 billion at list prices. It also grabbed another substantial firm order form a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines – SunExpress – for a total of 40 Boeing jets, worth $3.8 billion at list prices. Continuous order flows are a testimony to Boeing’s dominance in the flourishing commercial airplanes market.
With the current dividend yield of 2.1%, Boeing has proved to be an effective steward of shareholder capital over the years. Though the company was hit by multiple issues with its high-tech 787 Dreamliner aircraft in the past, it has convincingly powered through this weakness with gains of over 81% last year.
With a trailing twelve months price/earnings (P/E) of 18.9x and price/free cash flow (P/FCF) ratio of 15.0x, Boeing currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other better-placed companies are Embraer and Leidos Holdings, Inc. (LDOS - Snapshot Report). While Embraer carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Leidos Holdings holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).