Boeing Co. received at least two downgrades on Monday, with both UBS and Credit Suisse citing increased risk related to the company’s best-selling 737 Max jet. The moves follow reports that a pilot working on the 737 during its certification expressed concern about a feature that was subsequently implicated in two fatal crashes.
UBS wrote that the news “reinforces the perception of and heightens the potential of incomplete disclosure, which inherently puts more money/trust & time at stake.” The firm cut its view to neutral from buy, and its price target to $375 from $470.
Shares of Boeing fell 1.6 per cent in pre-market trading on Monday, suggesting it would extend Friday’s 6.8 per cent drop, a sell-off that represented the biggest one-day percentage loss for the Dow component since February 2016.
“We can no longer defend the shares in light of the latest discoveries, discoveries which significantly increase the risk profile for investors,” wrote Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn, who called the news “indefensible.”
Credit Suisse cut its view on the stock to neutral from outperform and slashed its price target to $323 from $416. The news “may shatter the fragile trust between regulators and BA,” increasing political risk and potentially undermining public confidence in the aircraft, “which could have [long-term] demand implications.” The damage to Boeing’s brand, it added, “could also metastasise to other BA products.”
With the moves, Boeing now has 15 buys, 13 holds, and two sell ratings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The consensus rating on the stock — a proxy for its ratio of buy, hold, and sell ratings — stands at about 3.8 out of 5, its lowest since July 2017.
UBS also lowered its view on Spirit AeroSystems, citing the company’s “outsize exposure” to the 737 Max.