A clearance for the new Boeing 737 MAX from Chinese authorities boosted shares of the Chicago-based aircraft maker. Boeing shares were up 4.3 percent in midday trading, which pushed its market capitalization above $237 billion.
Boeing gains came despite an over 2 percent decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and over 2 percent decline in the S&P 500, which by stock markets standards had been an extremely strong week. The DJIA was the most actively traded stock on Friday. Boeing saw its stock rise on Friday in part due to a statement from China’s Civil Aviation Administration of China saying the U.S. aviation giant’s newest airliner will be allowed to operate in China.
Boeing is the largest US company by market capitalization and remains the city’s largest employer. Boeing had more than 700 aerospace and defense workers in the District in 2017, including more than 400 in Northeast D.C. The company announced in 2016 it would shift the Boeing Center of Excellence in the greater Washington area to Denver.
Boeing announced it sold 11,600 gross aircraft and 12,334 net aircraft in the second quarter of this year, increasing its deliveries above the prior year. The gross and net numbers were the best in two years, pushing Boeing’s backlog to an all-time high of 9,546 airplanes.
Boeing shares were last at their all-time high on Friday. On Thursday the company announced it received its third order for the Boeing 737 MAX, in addition to a conditional order for a list value of $2.4 billion from Mideast budget carrier Al Ahli Saudi Airlines. The deal marked the second consecutive order from a Middle Eastern airline for the single-aisle passenger jet. Mideast budget carrier flydubai placed an order for 50 of the MAX 10 just two weeks ago, making it the first Middle Eastern customer to acquire the Boeing single-aisle jet.
The agreement between Al Ahli Saudi Airlines and Boeing also involved the purchase of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Dreamliner LEAP engines and Global Services products, the airline announced on Friday. The plane maker’s largest 787 order to date was a $12 billion, firm commitment for 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners from Saudi Arabian Airlines. In March, Boeing announced the MAX 10 would increase the range of the largest single-aisle jetliner in its MAX series to up to 8,250 nautical miles.
– Simon Denyer, Bloomberg News