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Tickers in this Article: BA, EJR, TXT
You may have seen the pictures in the news. The Airbus A380 super mega-jet touched down in L.A. and New York on Monday, wowing onlookers with its football field wide wingspan. And though you can't buy Airbus' parent company EADS stock on a U.S. exchange, airline manufactures are in the media spotlight because of the A380. Here's what's happening now:

The Big Player
First on our list is Boeing (NYSE: BA), which has certainly seen a great year so far.

Already up almost 30% since the beginning of 2006, in the recent broader market sell-off the stock took only a slight hit and is now trading just below a 52-week high at $90.32.

Optimists are coveting recent news that the company could win a $1.5 billion contract to manufacturer replacement wings for U.S. Air Force A-10 jets.

While the contract is only a slight bit of Boeing Integrated Defense System's $30.8 billion business, it is gravy for the already revenue-rich company.

What's more, it's hard not to be encouraged by the company's fundamentals, with a forward P/E of 15, price to sales at a low 1.15 and a tasty $1.40 forward dividend.

And while adding Boeing to your portfolio here seems like a "sure thing", it's also important to note that the stock is trading almost 13-points above the 200-day moving average (MA).

While many investors don't put much faith in technical analysis, it is usually a good idea to try to buy a stock on, or near the 200-day MA, just to ensure you're not paying an overly large "premium". Thus, for those who are thinking about buying Boeing, it may be a good idea to sit on your hands for a little while.

Other Ways to Play the Sector
Next up is Embraer Jets (NYSE: ERJ), which manufactures smaller regional jets for commercial and private buyers, along with defense and government products as well. If you live on the East coast, you've probably flown in one of these jets, as they seem to be the mainstay for short trips in and out of New York, Boston and Philly. Personally, I can't say the interiors are too exciting, but they are fun to ride in, especially on take off, as they seem to lift off the ground at a steeper angle than larger jets!

The stock hasn't blown the doors off of investor's portfolios over the last year though, and is up just over 12% since 2006. However, the stock is also trading near a 52-week high, and could easily be setting up for another breakout in the weeks to come. On a fundamental basis, the stock is slightly more overvalued than Boeing, trading with a 16.8 forward P/E and at 2.12 times sales. It's important to note that the company is sitting on $2.1 billion in cash, which will certainly come to good use, as the company expands it's product lines in the years to come.

Much like Boeing though, the stock is trading just over 13% above its 200-day MA. Thus, even though Embraer looks like it could breakout in the weeks to come, chances are that patient investors will be able to buy the stock at more reasonable levels, once a healthy pullback ensues.

Don't Forget the Golf Cart Maker
What does a golf cart have to do with an airplane manufacturer? Well, last up in our list is Textron (NYSE: TXT), which makes helicopters, smaller business planes and jets, defense systems and even golf carts (talk about diversification!).

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, the company is the clear fundamental winner, trading with a 12.8 forward P/E, 0.98 times sales and 1/4 of the price to book of Boeing, all the while harboring a $1.55 forward dividend.


The stock recently took a hit with the broader market, and is now trading just slightly above the 200-day MA at $91.75. My guess is that given the broader market merger-mania recently, and Textron's plans to expand it's business jet and helicopter product lines, it could just be a matter of time until another defense or commercial jet manufacturer will step in and bid for the company. However, mergers are very tough to predict, so my call should be taken with a grain of salt.

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