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Boeing Widens Lead as DJIA’s Top Performer

Boeing Co.'s (BA) share price rose by 3% a share last week to close Friday up more than $7 on the week. The stock's year-to-date share price gain reached 64.7%, leaving Boeing without a real challenger as the best performing stock among the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average index.

All but nine Dow stocks have posted year-to-date gains with the best — other than Boeing — being Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 35.3%; Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), up 34.2%; Apple Inc. (AAPL), up 31.1%; and McDonald's Corp. (MCD), up 30.6%.

Apple dropped from second to fourth in the ranking as reviews of its new iPhones and Apple Watch did not wildly praise the new products. The company began shipping the new phones on Friday, and if the company follows past practice, we'll know first-weekend sales figures on Monday.

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Boeing had another big week with a new order from Japan Airlines for four 787s and a signed memorandum of understanding from Turkish Airlines for 40 787-9s.

On Thursday the company released its Southeast Asia demand projection for new airplanes over the next 20 years. The largest category of new demand is projected for single-aisle planes like the company's 737 family. Boeing forecast that 3,230 new single-aisle planes will be needed to meet demand. Demand for small wide-bodies like the 787 are projected at 610 aircraft while demand for large wide-bodies (the 777X) is tallied at 320.

Also last week, Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) announced an agreement to acquire Orbital ATK Inc. (OA) in a deal valued at some $9.2 billion. Boeing's defense and space division CEO, Leanne Caret, said that Boeing is continuing to explore opportunities for mergers or acquisitions. A good place to start looking for potential M&A might be the list of suppliers Boeing named in its bid for the Minuteman III missile systems upgrade.

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Boeing stock closed at $256.45 on Friday, up about 10.1% for the day, in a 52-week range of $129.86 to $256.45, a new high posted Friday morning. The 12-month consensus price target rose by more than $10 a share last week to $266.85. The highest target rose from $302.00 to $325.00.

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