Dow component Boeing’s stock surged as the company reported year-end results that smashed Wall Street’s expectations, with record revenue and airplane deliveries driving the blowout.
Boeing reported a massive fourth-quarter earnings result of an adjusted $5.48 a share, beating analyst expectations by 91 cents, according to a survey by Refinitiv. Revenue was also strong, at $28.3 billion – over a billion more than analysts expected.
The aerospace giant reported $101.1 billion in annual revenue, breaking the $100 billion mark for the first time. Boeing also provided a strong 2019 forecast. Boeing expects next year’s earnings to fall between $19.90 a share and $20.10 a share. Wall Street was expecting $18.31 a share for full-year 2019 earnings.
Fourth quarter earnings from operations jumped 40 percent from a year ago for Boeing as margins expanded. The company posted $4.2 billion in earnings from operations, compared to nearly $3 billion a year ago.
Boeing shares surged more than 6 percent in premarket trading from Tuesday’s close of $364.91 a share.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have recently rattled Boeing’s stock, although the company’s shares largely recovered November and December losses in January after several big contract wins.
Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the strong 2018 results were driven by Boeing’s push to unite the company, with $35 billion invested in “key strategic areas” over the last five years. Muilenburg said the “One Boeing” initiative has made it a more cohesive organization, giving the company “confidence for continued strong performance, revenue expansion and solid execution across all three businesses.”
Boeing’s commercial airplanes business delivered a record 806 aircraft last year, just shy of the 810 that Boeing forecast in the third-quarter. The company expects to shatter that record in 2019, saying deliveries will climb to between 895 and 905 next year.
“That’s double-digit growth,” Jefferies analyst Shelia Kahyaoglu said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “About 100 basis points of improvement across each segment and these are big divisions. So, tons of productivity going through.”
The jet-making unit’s operating profit increased to 15.6 percent in the fourth-quarter, compared to 11.6 percent in the same period last year. The division also added 262 net orders, with the company’s total backlog holding steady at over 5,900 airplane orders worth $412 billion.
The company’s high-margin services business continued to grow, with revenues up 29 percent from a year ago to $4.9 billion.
“The story is in place and they have the cash to deploy as well,” Kahyaoglu said. “We view any pullback as an opportunity on the stock.”
Boeing’s defense unit saw a $6.1 billion fourth-quarter revenue increase driven by a rise in volume across F/A-18 fighter jets, satellites, and weapon programs. As the world’s second largest defense firm, Boeing bagged a significant number of Pentagon contracts last year. In the month of September alone, Boeing was awarded more than 20 contracts with a cumulative value of $13.7 billion.
Boeing clinched $805 million for the Navy’s MQ-25 aerial refueling drone, $9.2 billion for the Air Force’s T-X Trainer, $2.4 billion for the UH-1N helicopter replacement, and $3.9 billion for twin Air Force One aircraft.
What’s more, Boeing delivered the long-delayed KC-46 tanker to the U.S. Air Force last week. The two aircraft, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, touched down at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas on Friday after departing the company’s Everett, Washington, facility.
The delivery marks a major milestone for the program, which is two years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget. The aerospace giant is expected to build a total of 179 refueling aircraft to replace the Air Force’s aging tanker fleet.