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Earnings Preview: Boeing 4Q overshadowed by 787

CHICAGO (AP) -- Boeing Co. reports fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, but it's the battery incidents on its newest, highest-profile — and grounded — 787 that are likely to interest investors.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Boeing said Thursday that it's not permitted to comment directly on the investigations under way by authorities in the U.S. and Japan. Earlier this month a battery caught fire on a 787 that had just landed in Boston. Last week a smoldering battery of the same type prompted an emergency landing on a different 787. That second incident caused authorities to ground the plane until a fix is found.

WHY IT MATTERS: Boeing has halted 787 deliveries. And one 787 customer, LOT Polish Airlines, has said it intends to seek compensation for the grounding. Until the fix is known and the grounding order is lifted, there won't be any way for Boeing to know how much the whole issue will cost. So, even if Boeing says little about the 787 on Wednesday, investors will be hanging on every word.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts surveyed by FactSet are expecting earnings per share of $1.19, on revenue of $22.32 billion.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Net income of $1.39 billion, or $1.84 per share. Revenue was $19.56 billion.