What's Important in the Financial World (3/8/2013)

Boeing 737-MAX-7-8-9 Artwork
Boeing 737-MAX-7-8-9 Artwork

Bad News for Boeing

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) got some more bad news about the battery problems in its 787 Dreamliner. Fires caused by the batteries are hard to extinguish. According to Fire Engineering:

A battery fire in a Japan Airlines Co. Dreamliner jet at Boston airport in January was not easily put out as mechanics and firefighters struggled with heavy smoke, an interim report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

The NTSB said it has not drawn a conclusion on the cause of the battery fire or made recommendations in the interim report, citing ongoing investigations.

A mechanic "reported that he used a dry chemical extinguisher to try to put out the fire but that the smoke and flames did not stop," the report said.

The Fate of Time Inc.

The plan under which Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) will spin off its Time Inc. magazine division received mostly negative press, particularly about the fate of the print operations. Most analysts believe that Time Inc. cannot improve profits without ongoing cost cuts. Confidence that the operation can improve revenue from digital initiatives was low.

The New York Times reported:

The prospects for a stand-alone Time Inc. are far from certain, although Time Warner executives point out that AOL also faced bad press and double-digit declines in subscription and advertising revenue when Time Warner spun it off in 2009. Since then AOL's return to investors has grown by 86.9 percent, according to Time Warner.

The outlook is potentially less bright for Time Inc. The publisher has experienced a 30 percent decline in revenue in the last five years. And unlike News Corporation's newly formed publishing company, which has a benevolent chairman in Mr. Murdoch, Time Inc. and its 21 magazines face a leadership void.

And from the Wall St. Journal:

As the largest U.S. magazine publisher, Time Inc. has an enviable stable of titles, from the highly profitable People to the prestigious Time. But its operating income has dropped by roughly half over the past five years, and analysts expect revenue and profit to keep falling this year as the industry struggles to regain advertising lost to the recession and the Web.

"In this case, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose," wrote Michael Nathanson, an analyst for Nomura Securities who used to work at Time Inc. "This once proud and profitable division is being punted as its business prospects look structurally challenged."

Surge in China's Exports

China's exports jumped in February, which may indicate a recovery of the economy across most of the rest of the world. Or it could be that inventories of goods are low in many nations and have to be restocked. According to UPI:

China's February exports, spurred by demands from the United States and other markets, rose 21.8 percent annually to $139.37 billion, a government agency said.

In a further demonstration of China's strong recovery in its foreign trade, the General Administration of Customs said Friday imports fell 15.2 percent year-on-year to $124.12 billion, yielding a monthly trade surplus of $15.25 billion.

In February of last year, China had a trade deficit of $31.98 billion.

The agency said, however, the numbers would be different when making allowance for seasonally-adjusted factors such as four fewer working days in February due to the Spring Festival.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: BA, TWX