Boeing (Boeing Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts, Financials NYSE:BA) has done a decent job in clawing back some of the ground lost to the pandemic and the 737 Max story, but does the stock have the right stuff to reach its previous cruising altitude at around $350 per share? That remains to be seen, but portfolio manager Andrew Pyle thinks the company definitely should be a solid buy from here.
Plane-maker Boeing is back in the news this week after revealing a cut to its delivery target for this year’s 787 Dreamliner planes. Boeing said in a 787 program update on Tuesday that less than half of its 787 deliveries planned for the year would occur after discussions with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) showed a manufacturing quality issue that required attention.
“We will continue to take the necessary time to ensure Boeing airplanes meet the highest quality prior to delivery. Across the enterprise, our teams remain focused on safety and integrity as we drive stability, first-time quality and productivity in our operations,” Boeing said in a statement.
The FAA issued its own press release saying the problem surfaced as a result of inspections, finding an issue “near the nose on certain 787 Dreamliners in the company’s inventory of undelivered airplanes. This issue was discovered as part of the ongoing system-wide inspection of Boeing’s 787 shimming processes required by the FAA.”
The FAA said the problem “poses no immediate threat to flight safety” but that Boeing was committed to fixing it before resuming deliveries.
It’s the latest in a string of problems for Boeing, which has dealt with the after-effects of two downed 737 Max aircraft, one in 2019 and one in 2020, that resulted in intense scrutiny of both its best-selling plane and the processes involved in testing and safety verification. The COVID-19 pandemic also dealt a blow to the aviation industry in total, affecting new orders for Boeing’s planes and putting a level of uncertainty into the future of air travel worldwide.
On the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing had temporarily halted deliveries in May after the FAA called for more detail on the inspection process used to meet federal requirements.
All those issues have made it tough for Boeing’s stock, which has risen from an early-pandemic low of $95 to now $230 per share but is still well off its highs of around $350 set in 2019.
But Pyle thinks investors could make hay with the stock from here on out, despite the company’s troubles.
“The basic thesis behind investing is you pick companies that are well managed and well capitalized and if you pick those kinds of companies they will go through bad periods, and we saw that with Boeing and the 737 Max,” said Pyle, senior wealth advisor for Scotia Wealth Management, speaking on BNN Bloomberg last Friday.
“But good companies get through that and they rebuild and, of course, we’re talking about a company [whose problem] wasn’t just the 737 Max. We also had a pandemic on top of it. And the jury is still out on how much air travel comes back post-pandemic,” Pyle said.
Airlines were certainly on a high leading into 2020, the year of COVID, as air travel had been spiking worldwide, leading to fuller planes as passengers took to the air in greater numbers. And while the pandemic has pressed pause on the industry, the concern now is both when and if the industry returns to its previous normal. Of special concern is the lucrative business travel market, which many say will likely take a permanent hit as companies have learned to make due to a certain extent with virtual meetings.
But Pyle says Boeing is likely to do well going forward, pointing to a growing sentiment towards supporting the tried and true in businesses like air travel.
“We’re looking at a world right now where I think you’re going to see that appetite for one of those two producers, Airbus being the other one, especially in a world where we’re starting to move away from producers or makers that might have come onto the space, i.e. China,” Pyle said.
“And I would say that where that appetite may have been growing before the last 12 to 15 months that appetite may now be waning. We’re starting to see a shift amongst developed nations towards what is proven. [For example], what do we trust? What do we believe in?” he said.
“So, I think Boeing probably is not a bad time to buy right now longer term. The company is very strong. We don’t currently have it in the portfolio but I think you’re getting in at a relatively good period,” Pyle said.
Boeing’s share price is up 32 per cent over the past 12 months and is up seven per cent year-to-date.