Boeing said Wednesday it saw a jump in fourth-quarter earnings thanks to higher commercial plane deliveries and a boost from US tax reform, and expects more strong results in 2018.
Shares of the US aerospace giant powered higher after it reported net profit in the fourth quarter of $3.1 billion, up a stunning 92 percent from the year-ago period.
Revenues came in at $25.4 billion, up nine percent from the equivalent stretch in 2016, strengthened by higher commercial plane deliveries and increased defense revenues from deliveries of weapons systems.
Boeing has benefited from rising demand for commercial aircraft as airlines score higher profits and boost orders, and expects to beat last year’s record in 2018. 
‘Across Boeing our teams delivered a record year of financial and operational performance as they focused on disciplined execution of production and development programs, growing services, and delivering value to customers,’ Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said.
Earnings were lifted by $1.1 billion following passage of US tax reform, which permitted Boeing to reduce its deferred tax liabilities.
Boeing anticipates it will pay a tax rate of 16 percent in 2018 following tax reform, below the 21 percent top corporate rate in the law passed in December. 
Chief financial officer Greg Smith said the lower effective rate reflected tax credits for research and development and for adding domestic manufacturing and intellectual property.
The outlook for 2018 included higher revenues, earnings per share and profit margins in its commercial airplane, defense and global services divisions. 
It projected commercial plane deliveries of 810 to 815 this year, which would exceed the record 763 in 2017.
Poised for growth
Boeing has raised production rates of key vehicles as they have become more seasoned in the company’s manufacturing system, enabling higher profit margins.
The company plans to increase output of the single-aisle 737, its most popular offering, from 47 a month to 52 later this year and to 57 in 2019.
Boeing is well positioned ‘for continued growth into and beyond 2020,’ Credit Suisse said in a note. ‘We think the Dow’s 2017 darling will continue to attract strong support in 2018 too.’
Although analysts consider Boeing’s prospects to be generally bright, it faces questions over how it will respond to a surprise setback last week in a trade dispute involving Canada’s Bombardier. 
The US International Trade Commission voted to block the Commerce Department’s decision to impose heavy tariffs on Bombardier in response to Boeing’s complaint that the Canadian company received unfair subsidies.
Boeing expressed disappointment with the decision, but has not said whether it will appeal through the courts.
Muilenburg said Boeing will hold off on disclosing its plans until it reviews the full ruling, which will be released in February. He reiterated that ‘we remain firm our stance on the need for fair global trade.’
He said talks continue with Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer on a potential combination. However, the Brazilian government, which holds veto power, opposes a takeover by Boeing.
‘These discussions are productive and we’re continuing to have active dialogue with the key stakeholders,’ Muilenburg said, adding that a deal with Embraer would be ‘a great strategic fit.’
Boeing shares rose 5.0 percent to $354.54, giving a boost to the Dow, which was up at midday.
Boeing shares have more than doubled over the last year, making it a standout stock in an up market.