Boeing Stock Is Falling. Even Minor Issues Make Investors Nervous Now.

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A Boeing 787 aircraft arrives in Israel after the first scheduled commercial flight from Abu Dhabi in April.

Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Stock in


is taking a modest hit after the company disclosed a new delay in deliveries of the 787 jet. The reasons aren’t new, but it is no surprise, given the events of the past couple of years, that investors are paying close attention to issues at the commercial aerospace giant.

Shares were down about 2% in early trading. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average


S&P 500,

for comparison, were both up about 0.2%.

Deliveries of the plane were paused in late 2020 after Boeing (ticker: BA) discovered some issues related to shims and “skin-flatness” that summer. They resumed in March, with the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing says the latest delay isn’t due to a new technical issue, but is till regarding the shims and skin flatness. None of the jets it has delivered since March are affected, according to the company.

“We are working to provide the FAA with additional information concerning the analysis and documentation associated with the verification work on undelivered 787s,” a Boeing spokesman told Barron’s. “We continue to work closely with the FAA in a transparent and timely manner.”

The new delay appears to be small from a stock-market perspective, but all regulatory issues at Boeing are facing higher scrutiny given the company’s problems with the 737 MAX jet. The plane, Boeing’s newest single-aisle aircraft, was grounded worldwide between March 2019 and December 2020 following two deadly crashes inside of five months.

Boeing worked for months to fix the plane’s flight-control software and sensors in order to win permission for it to carry passengers again. That slammed the stock in 2019, but the pandemic did still more damage as it devastated the airline industry, and demand for jets, in 2020.

The stock is down more than 40% from its highs in 2019, prior to the MAX’s grounding and the pandemic. Still, shares are up about 17% year to date as those twin setbacks fade into the background.

As long as commercial air travel keeps rising from its 2020 lows, investors aren’t likely to have to think very much about relatively minor issues with the 787.

Write to Al Root at

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