Commercial airline manufacturer The Boeing Company (BA) is all set to exit 2013 on a triumphant note. Boeing’s back-to-back order wins from Hong Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific is boosting its order book. Boeing exited third quarter 2013 with a backlog of 4,800 airplanes, the combined value of which was $345 billion.
Per the latest $1 billion order, Boeing will supply one 747-8 Freighter and three 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes to Cathay Pacific. This follows orders for 21 777-9X airplanes, placed by Cathay Pacific, on Dec 20, 2013, for $7 billion at list prices.
The increasing demand for Boeing’s commercial airplanes and freighters comes on the back of superior quality when compared to its peers. The 747-8 Freighter provides the best economics in its segment. This new model can carry 16% more cargo volume than its predecessor, the 747-400 Freighter.
777-300 ER is one of the most advanced twin-engine, long-haul airplanes. The 777-300ER is equipped with the world's most powerful GE90-115B commercial jet engine, and can accommodate 386 passengers in a three-class configuration with a maximum range of 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km).
The long range flying capability and fuel efficiency have earned its popularity among the commercial airline operators. From Jan 2013 through Nov 2013 the company received orders for 41’ 777-300ER from airliners across the world.
Besides its flourishing Commercial Airplane business, Boeing continues to win substantial defense orders. Recently, the company received a couple of contracts, worth $661 million, from the U.S. Department of Defense. The solid performance of the company over the last twelve months is also reflected in its traded price. Boeing’s share price closed at $136.90 on Dec 27, reflecting a gain of 84.1% over the twelve-month period.
Boeing currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other players in the aerospace/defense sector, which also look attractive at current levels, include Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT), General Dynamics (GD) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC). All these stocks carry the same Zacks rank as Boeing.