April 23 - A sharp rise in revenue for commercial jets offset a decline in Boeing's defense business. And a big increase in deliveries lifted profitability. Fred Katayama reports.
Soaring demand for new fuel efficient planes fueled Boeing's results in the latest quarter. Revenue for passenger jets rose 19 percent, offsetting a decline in its defense business. And the huge increase in delivering those widebody 787 Dreamliners and single-aisle 737s lifted Boeing's profitability as well. Boeing was able to cut production costs on the 787s. The aerospace giant hiked its earnings forecast for the full year. But its bottom line fell, dragged down by costs related to shifting many workers from a pension plan to a 401(k) retirement plan. RBC analyst Robert Stallard said, "We think investors will be breathing a sigh of relief - we've been hearing some pretty doomsday forecasts for free cash flow this quarter, and the actual result has turned out to be far better than some feared. We're also pleased to see Boeing stepping up to buy back stock aggressively in the recent period of share price softness." The first quarter hasn't been a smooth ride for Boeing. The company was forced to hire hundreds of contract workers at a plant that had struggled to ramp up production. Investor concerns about slowing deliveries of the Dreamliner had dogged the stock this year. But those shares got a breather today on the upbeat results.