investors have endured a lot of bad news over the past few years. But they have something to look forward to when
reports fourth-quarter numbers on Wednesday: free cash flow.
Wall Street is looking for quarterly free cash flow of $2.9 billion.
Boeing (ticker: BA) has only generated positive free cash flow in two quarters out of the past 14, following the onset of the 737 MAX debacle and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide between March 2019 and November 2020 following two deadly crashes inside of five months. The grounding hit free cash flow and cash problems were exacerbated by Covid-19. Plane deliveries plummeted as airlines struggled to stay afloat amid reduced demand for air travel. Boeing was burning through about $5 billion a quarter in the depths of the pandemic.
Along with positive free cash flow for a second consecutive quarter, analysts are projecting fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 17 cents from sales of $20 billion for Boeing.
Looking ahead, Wall Street expects earnings per share of about $2.74 from roughly $81 billion in sales in 2023. Free cash flow is projected to be about $4 billion for the year.
Free cash flow for 2022 should be roughly $2 billion. It would be the first positive result since 2018. Boeing generated about $13.6 billion in free cash flow in 2018 and $11.3 billion in 2017.
More planes drive the improving results. Analysts expect Boeing to delivery more than 600 jets in 2023, up from 480 planes delivered in 2022.
Boeing hasn’t fully recovered. Commercial jet deliveries for 2017 and 2018 came in at 899 and 806, respectively. But the plane maker seems to be heading in the right direction after a series of brutal years.
Options markets imply shares will move about 5%, up or down, following the earnings report. Shares have moved an average of about 4%, up or down, following the past four quarterly reports. Shares have risen twice and fallen twice over that span.
Boeing stock is up about 11% year to date and up about 48% over the past three months. The
is up about 5% year to date and up about 6% over the past three months. The year-to-date and three-month change in the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
are 2% and 7%, respectively.
Management hosts a conference call at 10:30 a.m. eastern time to discuss results.