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Despite a Few Loose Wires, Boeing's a Bargain

Sunday - 7/28/2013, 2:30pm  ET

Another week, another problem with Boeing's troubled commercial airplanes program.

As you've probably heard by now, inspections centering on a Honeywell -manufactured emergency transmitter, that may or may not have been related to a fire aboard an Ethiopian Airlines-operated 787 two weeks ago, have revealed multiple instances of "wiring damage" aboard 787s in the service of airlines ANA and United Continental . This news -- part of a litany of woes involving Boeing planes these past few weeks -- helped to shave 1.3% off Boeing's share price over the course of the week.

But don't you be distracted. Don't lose sight of the bigger picture. Because as frightening as some of these headlines may be to investors, the truth is that Boeing is flying along just fine.

You see, in addition to all the wondering about wiring, we also got some definitively good news out of Boeing last week -- its Q2 earnings report, which came out Wednesday, and featured:

  • 11% earnings growth to $1.41 per share.
  • Revenues up 9%.
  • Operating profit margins up 40 basis points.
  • Operating cash flow that nearly quadrupled to $3.5 billion.

To top it all off, here at the halfway mark, Boeing increased its earnings guidance for the full year to as much as $5.30 per share and said that revenues could come in as high as $86 billion as cuts to defense and space exploration spending turn out to be not quite so deep as feared.

A bit of perspective, please
To put it mildly, these are not the kind of numbers you'd expect to see from a company in trouble, and whose customers fear to buy its products. Actually, the contrary is more likely true.

You see, crucial to the good news at Boeing is that backlog at the company grew $40 billion, largely from new orders received in the second quarter. That means Boeing's order book grew 11%, or, put another way, Boeing is taking in orders even faster than it collects revenue on old orders already delivered -- a clear indication that revenue growth is accelerating.

How fast is Boeing growing? Analysts say earnings will grow upwards of 13% annually over the next five years. Meanwhile, the company's stock sells for just 10.2 times trailing free cash flow. That suggests that Boeing is stock is cheap even if growth is not accelerating.

Now, add on a 1.8% dividend tailwind, and I think the investors who sold Boeing shares last week have made a big mistake. This stock is a bargain, and despite a few issues with its newest plane, Boeing won't just survive. It'll downright thrive.

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This article was originally published as Despite a Few Loose Wires, Boeing's a Bargainon

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