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Boeing 2014 Forecast Trails Estimates as Pace of Orders Slows

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co., the world’s largest planemaker, forecast a profit for 2014 that fell short of analysts’ estimates as the pace of its jet orders slows after the second-highest year in 2013.

Earnings excluding some pension expenses will be $7.00 to $7.20 a share for 2014, the Chicago-based company said in a statement today. That compares with $7.07 in 2013 and an average estimate of $7.46 in a Bloomberg survey of 23 analysts.

Boeing is under pressure to top last year’s performance after the planemaker posted record jetliner deliveries and amassing more than 1,000 orders for the second consecutive year, adding to an order haul that will keep factories humming for almost eight years.

With no jet announcements looming to spur sales like the 777X and 787-10 debuts did in 2013, “I have a hard time seeing another massive year” Ken Herbert, managing director with Canaccord Genuity Inc., said in a phone interview before earnings were announced.

Investors are judging whether the company remains an attractive investment for the cash it’s generating from record deliveries or “whether all of the good news is priced into Boeing shares at this point,” Carter Copeland, a New York City- based aerospace analyst with Barclays Plc, wrote in a Jan. 27 report. Herbert rates Boeing a buy and Copeland assigned it an equivalent rating.

Boeing shares fell 0.7 percent to $136.08 in New York at 7:42 a.m. before regular trading. The stock advanced 81 percent in 2013, the most among the 30 stocks listed in the Dow Jones Industrials Average, as Boeing successfully increased 787 production and sales after resolving a battery issue that prompted regulators to ground the Dreamliner fleet for three months.

The company’s momentum continued into the fourth quarter as deliveries soared on faster production tempos for the three best-selling jets. Boeing shipped 648 jets last year, beating rival Airbus SAS, based in Toulouse, France, for a second consecutive year. Boeing garnered 1,531 gross orders, a 14 percent increase from 2012.

In the fourth quarter, profit excluding some pension expenses was $1.84 billion, or $1.88 a share, unchanged from a year earlier, the company said. Analysts projected $1.57 on that basis, the average of 19 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Last year Boeing introduced a profit measure -- so-called core earnings per share -- that it said gives a clearer picture by adjusting for market fluctuation in pension expenses. .

Boeing also reported a one-time cost of $406 million related to a Jan. 23 agreement it reached with General Dynamics Corp. to provide $400 million in goods and services to the U.S. to settle a 23-year-old dispute over a canceled multibillion- dollar contract for the A-12 stealth aircraft.

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