Boeing Stock Up 60% Year to Date, DJIA’s Top Performer

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Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) stock rose by more than $10 a share last week to close Friday essentially up about 4.3% week over week. The stock’s year-to-date share price gain reached 59.9%, solidifying Boeing’s hold as the best performing stock among the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index.

All but nine DJIA stocks have posted year-to-date gains with the best — other than Boeing — being Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), up 38%; Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 35%; McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), up 28.9%; and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), up 30.9%.

Boeing had a big week. It started Tuesday when the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Malaysia Airlines Berhad (Malaysia Airlines) for 16 airplanes, including eight 787-9 Dreamliners by converting eight of Malaysia Airlines’ existing order of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and eight additional purchase rights of the 737 MAX 8s. Boeing also signed a service contract to maintain the national carrier’s current and future Boeing airplanes.

On Wednesday Boeing announced that it will raise its production rate from 12 to 14 787 Dreamliners per month beginning in 2019. Boeing currently shows a backlog of 689 Dreamliners. Many analysts are skeptical that the company can maintain the higher production rate given the lack of new orders for the plane. The book-to-bill ratio has not exceeded one since 2013.

What the increased rate does achieve, however, is a stronger cash flow that will help the company maintain its cash flow targets and its dividend payments. Investors really like that sort of behavior.

Finally last week, the company received a check for $600 million to continue development on two planes to replace the current Air Force One. Boeing and the Air Force are trying to cut costs on the program in order to meet the president’s declaration that he knocked the price down by $1 billion.

Boeing stock closed at $249.00 on Friday, up about 1.5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $126.34 to $249.95. That new high was posted Friday afternoon. The 12-month consensus price target rose by more than $4 a share last week to $256.25. The highest target remained at $302.00.