Goldman Sachs analyst downgrades Boeing stock rating to "sell" as 80,000 Boeing current and former workers in Washington state await word on the payout for a company incentive program that hinges on Monday's stock price.
Boeing shares slumped nearly 7 percent Wednesday to a 30-month low — and even employees who don’t buy company stock may have lost some money as a result.
After a Goldman Sachs analyst reduced his rating on the stock from “neutral” to “sell,” Boeing shares closed down $5.15, or 6.9 percent, to $69.64.
The downgrade came as 80,000 Boeing current and former workers in Washington state await word on a company incentive program that hinges on what the average share price will be Monday.
This time around, the trigger price is $54. If the average share price Monday is $70, the average payout would be about $1,493 in company stock, a Boeing spokesman said.
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Boeing’s Share Value Trust pays nonexecutive employees once every two years, assuming the stock price is above a predetermined threshold.
Employees who worked the entire four years beginning July 1, 2004, qualify for the full amount. Those who worked less receive a pro-rated amount.
At a share price of $70, Boeing’s Washington workers as a group would collect pre-tax bonuses totaling $121 million; at $75, they’d receive $158 million.
Wednesday’s drop followed a report from Goldman analyst Richard Safran, who based his negative outlook on high oil prices and a weakening economy, as well as the potential for further glitches in the 787 Dreamliner.
The Wall Street Journal also reported growing questions about whether the burgeoning order backlogs for Boeing and Airbus can be sustained in the face of the airline industry’s difficulties.
Safran’s report set a $60 target for Boeing stock over the next 12 months, according to Bloomberg News.
“We believe there is more risk to the 787 program than is currently priced in as the program has yet to even enter flight test, where historically most issues on development aircraft are found,” Safran wrote.
The last time Boeing shares traded below $70 was in January 2006. The stock hit a 52-week high of $107.83 on July 25.
Companywide, about 196,000 people are eligible for incentive payments under the Share Value Trust. Collectively they would receive about $309 million in Boeing stock, based on a $70-a-share price.
The trust payout in 2006 yielded Boeing workers an average $5,231 before taxes. That was the result of a much larger spread between the threshold share price of $47 and the stock price on the final day of the period, $82.29.
Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.