Boeing complained that Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) ordering Bombadier’s CSeries jets unfairly hurt Boeing. As a result, a 220% tariff was placed on the Canadian-made jets.
I said then that this action would hurt the much smaller Canadian aircraft manufacturer in the short-term but would end up hurting Boeing stock in the long run.
In the past, I’ve defended Boeing’s right to protect the best interests of the company.
However, in the case of the 220% duties, I felt as though the fight with Bombardier was beneath it. You’re Boeing, I thought to myself; the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial aircraft. Why do you feel the need to kick sand in the face of a 90-pound weakling?
Boeing’s Childish Actions
In my opinion, Boeing’s actions were over-the-top and unnecessary, and as a result, I recommended investors back away from Boeing stock. I wrote on October 9, 2017:
“Today, I’m having major doubts about the company and its stock. Because what it’s doing to Bombardier reeks of cronyism; in fact, Boeing is acting a lot like a spoiled child wanting his or her way. For that reason, I’m recommending that if you own BA stock you should reconsider your position and, if you don’t, I think you should stay away until the company resembles a world-class business and not a petulant child.”
It wasn’t easy for me to say as I’d been very supportive of Boeing stock as far back as 2013 when I called it “an excellent long-term buy.”
It was trading at $75 when I said that.
Thankfully, Boeing came to its senses March 23, confirming that it would not appeal the decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission who overturned the Commerce Department’s heavy-handed tariffs and duties against Bombardier.
Boeing Stock Heading to the Clouds
Just as I didn’t know Boeing stock would hit $365, a compound annual growth rate of 37% when I recommended it in January 2013, I don’t know when it will ascend into the clouds, but dropping its petty fight is the beginning of what should be a long runway to growth.
James Brumley, my InvestorPlace colleague, recently explained why Boeing would weather a trade war with China. If you want to read a balanced analysis of how Boeing may or may not be affected by a trade war, you should take the time to check out his piece.
For me, I’m going to stick with what I know to be true about Boeing and not conjecture or speculation. Sure, it’s possible that Boeing will end up getting burned by a trade war — 23% of its planes are sold to Chinese carriers — but it’s equally possible that its 777X and 737 MAX aircraft will be bigger successes than industry predictions.
In business, like in life, we tend to exaggerate both the negative and positive things happening around us. We work and live somewhere in the middle.
As Brumley alluded to, investors waste a lot of energy worrying about things that never happen.
Now that I’m back on Boeing wagon, I do believe that Boeing stock could deliver 20%-25% compound annual growth over the next five years. If it does, a $1,000 stock price is not out of the realm of possibility.
A lot’s got to go right mind you, but with $11.5 billion in free cash flow, by far its best result in the company’s history, good things can happen if it stays away from the schoolyard shenanigans.
As of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.