How Boeing Beat Estimates and Raised Guidance

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Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) reported third-quarter 2016 results before markets opened Wednesday. The aerospace company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.51 on revenues of $23.9 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $2.52 on revenues of $25.85 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $2.62 and $23.64 billion in revenues.

The company raised its adjusted EPS guidance for the full year from a prior range of $6.40 to $6.60 to a new range of $6.80 to $7.00. Full-year revenue guidance of $93 billion to $95 billion was raised by $500 million at each end of the range, and operating cash flow guidance was unchanged at about $10 billion.

The entire increase in EPS guidance is due to a $0.70 per share gain on a tax benefit. A favorable tax adjustment added $0.28 to third-quarter profits as well.

For the first nine months of 2016, operating cash flow totals $7.67 billion and fourth-quarter cash flow totaled $3.2 billion. Free cash flow totaled $2.61 billion in the third quarter and the year-to-date total is $5.65 billion.

Boeing raised its full-year delivery forecast from a prior range of 740 to 745 commercial jets to a new range of 745 to 750. Forecast operating margin in the commercial airplane division was maintained in a range of 4.5% to 5.0%.

Defense division revenue continues to be forecast at $28.5 billion to $29.5 billion, and the estimated operating margin in the division remains more than 10%.

Boeing’s deferred production costs on the 787 program fell to $27.52 billion, down by $150 million sequentially. Tooling and other non-recurring costs for the program also declined, from $3.71 billion at the end of the second quarter to $3.69 billion.

Boeing delivered a total of 188 commercial jets in the third quarter of 2016, down by 6% compared with 199 deliveries in the same period last year. This year’s total of 563 planes includes 368 737s, 73 777s and 104 787 Dreamliners, and it is down 3% compared with the first nine months of last year.

CEO Dennis Muilenburg said:

Solid operating performance across our commercial and defense and space businesses in the third quarter again generated strong cash flow for Boeing, which continues to fuel investments in our future and enable us to deliver compelling returns to our shareholders. We also captured key orders, reinforcing the strength of our large and diverse order backlog.

We achieved key milestones on the 737 MAX, 787-10 and other development programs, including the first KC-46 production contracts. Our teams remain focused on completing these development efforts and delivering better capabilities and economics to customers around the world.

We remain on track to deliver on our full-year commitments. At the same time, we are positioning Boeing for further growth through our intense focus on productivity, quality and safety across the company.

During the quarter, Boeing repurchased 7.6 million shares of stock for $1 billion and paid $700 million in dividends. The dividend yield at Tuesday’s close was 3.21%.

The stock traded up about 1.9% in Wednesday’s premarket, at $141.60 in a 52-week range of $102.10 to $150.59. The consensus price target as of Tuesday¬†was $148.71.