Five Things to Watch In Airbus and Boeing Results

By Doug Cameron and Robert Wall Features Dow Jones Newswires

1 BOEING KICKS OFF

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Boeing Co. is first up before the open Wednesday, with earnings per share expected to rise to $1.94 from $1.74 a year earlier, according to the consensus among analyst polled by Thomson Reuters. Sales are forecast to dip 6% to $21.3 billion on lower 737 and military aircraft deliveries. Boeing has missed guidance only once in the past 20 quarters.

2 AIRBUS TO FOLLOW

Airbus SE follows before the open on Thursday, with earnings per share expected to dip to 25 cents from 38 cents, according to the consensus among analyst polled by Thomson Reuters. Sales are forecast to rise 4% to 12.7 billion euros. Airbus has beat expectations in just four of the past eight quarters, weighed by charges on military programs.

3 IT'S THE DELIVERIES, STUPID

Boeing easily outpaced its rival in first quarter orders -- Airbus managed just six -- but it is keeping deliveries on track that matters, given huge backlogs at both companies. Airbus pushed just a dozen of its A320neos out the door in the quarter, and had been targeting around 200 for the year as it wrestled with engine issues. Boeing has yet to disclose how many 737 Max jets it will deliver, with the first expected to start operating in May.

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4 CASH ISN'T SO FREE

Airbus liquidity has been pressured by increased customer financing activity as export credit support remains frozen, as well as withheld payments on the A400M military transport jet. After a weak quarter for deliveries, it may face a net outflow. Boeing's cash should benefit from improved pricing on 787 deliveries, so long as it avoids any more charges on its military or space programs.

5 AND IRAN

Buyers haven't exactly been flocking to either company's widebody jets, with Boeing in particular relying on a potential deal for 15 of its 777s from Iran Air to bridge a production gap to the new 777X model. Airbus has booked its Iran sales as firm orders, with Boeing holding off on that step pending some unspecified U.S. Treasury approvals. With the future of Iran's nuclear deal still in flux, will both deals survive?

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com and Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 25, 2017 15:49 ET (19:49 GMT)