Boeing is a high risk buying opportunity that could soar more than 50% from here, Citi says

Boeing shares could soar 56% from here if the company’s three commercial aircraft programs maintain projected levels of profitability — though the buying opportunity is high risk, according to Citi. Analyst Charles Armitage upgraded shares of Boeing to buy/high risk from neutral, saying in a Thursday report that the outlook for the company’s 737 MAX, 777X, and 787 aircraft programs would have to sour significantly to justify the current stock price. Shares are down nearly 34% this year. “We believe Boeing offers significant value to investors as the market has become increasingly concerned about the outlook for its commercial aircraft programs,” read the report. “While we acknowledge there are questions as to whether reasonable levels of profitability and market share will be achieved, we also feel that this potentially misses a valuable investment opportunity.” Should all three aircraft programs maintain Citi’s projections for production and profitability, the analyst believes the fair value of Boeing should be $209 per share, representing roughly 56% upside from Wednesday’s closing price. This is also Citi’s new target price, trimmed from $219 previously. However, there are risks remaining for investors. If two of the aircraft lines — the 737 MAX and 777X — match Citi’s downside case for production and profitability, analysts expect the fair value to be $116 per share, which is “marginally below” the current stock price. And, “if all three programs go badly, we see value at about $84/sh, ~30% below the current price.” “We are least sure of the prospects for the 737MAX and the 777X; in our view, both programs would need to go badly to justify the current share price, so we regard the risk/reward to be in investors’ favor,” Citi said. Shares of Boeing dipped more than 1% in Thursday premarket trading. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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