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Boeing 767s under construction
Boeing 767 jets take shape at the company’s factory in Everett, Wash. Boeing says it’s raising 767 production due to strong demand for the jet as a cargo freighter. (Boeing Photo)

The Boeing Co. is raising its financial sights for the year as a result of a stronger-than-expected first quarter, and that was reflected today in its stock price as well.

First-quarter revenue was up 6 percent year over year at $23.4 billion. and net earnings per share rose 57 percent to $4.15, the company reported. Adjusted earnings per share hit $3.64, 68 percent higher than the year-ago figure and 40 percent higher than the consensus forecast from analysts.

Vertical Research Partners’ reaction to the financial results was headlined “Everything Goes Right.”

Boeing attributed the improved performance to higher commercial airplane deliveries, with a more profitable mix of planes, plus growth in its defense and service lines. As a result, the company’s full-year guidance for earnings per share was increased by 50 cents, to between $16.40 and $16.60.

“Across Boeing, our teams performed at a high level in the quarter, driving revenue and earnings growth at all three business units, increasing profitability and operating cash flow, and delivering more value to our customers,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement reporting the results.

“Customers continue to recognize the value of our products and services, with strong orders booked in the quarter for defense, services and commercial offerings, including 221 net commercial aircraft orders,” he said.

The company said it’d increase the production rate for its 767 program from 2.5 to three airplanes per month beginning in 2020, thanks to strong demand for the model as a cargo freighter. Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ backlog now amounts to more than 5,800 jets valued at $415 billion.

On the defense and space side of the business, Boeing touted the sale of 28 F/A-18 Super Hornets to Kuwait, the extension of its contracts with the Missile Defense Agency, work on the controversial KC-46 tanker program, delivery of the first Space Launch System intertank hardware to NASA, and progress toward what’s expected to be the first flight of the CST-100 Starliner space taxi this year.

Reuters quoted Muilenburg as downplaying concerns about trade frictions between the U.S. and China. “We’re frankly encouraged by the continuing dialogue,” he said. Muilenburg also told analysts that 777 jet production rates were “not dependent” on the status of an Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration has thrown into question.

As of midday, the aerospace giant’s stock was up 3 percent over the previous day’s close, at $341 per share.

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