Boeing Retains Perch as Best DJIA Stock This Year

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Boeing Co.’s (NYSE: BA) share price added about 0.8% last week and easily held onto its position as the best performing stock among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Shares gained $3.62 last week to boost the year-to-date gain to nearly 71%.

Of the three other stocks closest to Boeing’s yearly gain, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) added more than 2% to close the week up 51% for the year to date; Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) rose by about 0.8% to a gain of more than 48%; and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) tacked on 0.9% to bring its annual gain to 43.5%.

The week got off to a good start with Sunday’s announcement that Boeing had finalized an order from aircraft lessor Avolon for 55 of the company’s 737 MAX 8s (737-8) and 20 737 MAX 10s (737-10). The original memorandum of understanding (MOU) was announced in June at the Paris Air Show and Sunday’s deal includes an option for an additional 20 737-8s.

At Boeing’s list prices for the new aircraft, the order with options is valued at nearly $11 billion. Boeing added the 75 planes to its order book on Tuesday, lifting net orders for all versions of the 737 for the year to date to 505.

Analysts continue to be upbeat about the company’s performance. Barron’s cited Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu’s forecast for free cash flow rising from an expected $10.5 billion this year to $12 billion by 2020. Kahyaoglu also raised her price target from $300 to $312.

Carter Copeland at Melius Research also cited Boeing’s massive free cash flow, but pins its outlook for the company on the introduction of the “new mid-size aircraft,” also known as the NMA or the 797. Copeland noted that the company’s order tally spikes about half when Boeing launches a new product and he believes that the a launch for the 797 is closer than the market thinks.

Boeing stock closed at $265.88 on Friday, up about 0.3% on the day, in a 52-week range of $148.32 to $267.62. The 12-month consensus price target is $281.04, 21 cents higher than last week’s target. The low price target is $170 and the high is $350.