Investors largely took in stride the news of Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher's forced departure, announced before the start of the day's...
Investors largely took in stride the news of Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher’s forced departure, announced before the start of the day’s trading session.
Boeing shares opened 84 cents lower than Friday’s close of $58.38, and at one point yesterday morning hit $57.25. But the shares rallied later, and finished at $58.30, down just 8 cents on the day.
More than 6.4 million shares changed hands, almost twice Boeing’s average volume over the previous six months. But market activity was even heavier Thursday and Friday, on news the company’s ban on rocket launches would be lifted.
That seemed to validate analysts’ take — that Stonecipher’s ouster didn’t alter the fundamentals of Boeing’s business, at least not in the near term.
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“I don’t see any fundamental shift in their strategy,” said J.B. Groh, aerospace analyst with D.A. Davidson in Lake Oswego, Ore. Groh has a “neutral” rating on the stock, which he doesn’t own.
“Clearly the 787 goes forward, and they still need to make decisions on the ’67 and the ’47 (Advanced). It would be nice to have somebody who’s been there awhile making these decisions, rather than somebody new. But my guess is those decisions won’t be any different with him gone than with him there.”
Similarly, Fitch Ratings said its A+ grade on Boeing’s bonds would not change — despite, as it put it, “the second CEO resignation at Boeing in the past 15 months in which ethical issues played a role.”
The ratings agency said that Stonecipher had only been expected to serve until mid-2006, so his resignation only accelerated an ongoing succession process.
However, Fitch said in a statement, “This new departure raises [the] level of concern regarding potential changes in operational and financial strategies once a new CEO is identified.”
Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or email@example.com