Apple? Alphabet? Nah. It’s actually aerospace giant Boeing ( BA ) that is the most important stock in the U.S. stock market, argues one strategist.
“It is hard to imagine a company more levered to long-term global economic trends than Boeing,” contends DataTrek co-founder Nicholas Colas. It’s hard to dispute that one.
Boeing derives about 56% of its sales internationally. China accounts for 14% of Boeing’s sales while Europe weighs in at 14% of the business. As the global economy goes, as goes Boeing more often than not.
Meanwhile, Boeing’s U.S. government business accounts for 31% of its sales. Spending by the government on things such as Boeing jet fighters and other weaponry is a decent proxy on the health of the U.S. economy.
A good case for Boeing
Boeing represents about 10.9% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Colas argues the Dow is “the most important measure of U.S. equity prices when it comes to how Main Street judges Wall Street performance.”
Colas points out the following data:
Every day five times the number of Americans Google search “Dow Jones” as compared to “S&P.”
The weightings in the Dow for Apple (4.5%) and Microsoft (2.8%) are dwarfed by Boeing’s. Amazon and Alphabet aren’t in the Dow, which is a price weighted index.
So, it’s logical Boeing is the most important seeing as it’s the biggest Dow component.
Colas adds that Boeing’s 30.7% year to advance only contributes to its influence among investors. It’s the best-performing Dow stock this year by a wide margin. As a result of Boeing’s 10.9% weighting, it has contributed 776 points to the Dow in 2019. That contribution, notes Colas, is more than the next four names combined: Goldman Sachs (225 points); IBM (177 points); United Technologies (157 points); and Home Depot (133 points).
These names are only responsible for 56% of the Dow’s year-to-date gains.
“Boeing just hit a new all-time high today, even though the Dow obviously did not; its weighting is therefore still growing and with that the ramifications of a failed/fuzzy U.S./China trade agreement,” says Colas. “Remember: the Dow is the primary transmission mechanism between financial asset prices and the public’s perception of stocks and therefore the U.S. economy.”
Shares around record highs
With Boeing shares hovering at record highs, it’s unsurprising to see this type of upbeat research on the company. In many respects, Boeing deserves the shout out. Boeing saw its operating profit margins expand in all three of its business segments in the fourth quarter. For 2018, Boeing’s sales rose 8% to $101 billion and earnings per share increased a cool 30%.
Boeing jacked up its dividend by 20% in late December while also authorizing a new $20 billion stock buyback. The company is likely to receive analyst praise on the new 777x when it’s revealed sometime in March.
Sprinkle in strong defense spending by a Republican president, Boeing’s influence on the Dow — and on investors — only stands to grow this year.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi
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