Aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. (BA) has seen its shares gain a whopping 72.6% year-to-date (YTD), trading up 0.4% on Wednesday afternoon at $269.09. By comparison the S&P 500 has increased $17.2% over the same period. One team of analysts on the Street foresees the aerospace stock to continue reaping rewards for shareholders, forecasting a dividend increase likely to come before Christmas. (See also: Boeing Flies Toward Double-Digit Growth: Jefferies.)

Wells Fargo top aerospace analyst Sam Pearlstein and team expect the Chicago-based jet maker to boost its dividend by at least 10% to 15% before its next board meeting, slated for Dec. 11. Pearlstein highlights growing free cash flow thanks to higher 737 airliner production and cost reductions on the 787 Dreamliner program.

Growing Free Cash Flow

“With $10 billion in cash at the end of Q3 and free cash flow growth expected for several years, we believe Boeing can continue to support significant return of cash to shareholders,” wrote the Wells analyst in a note to clients.

Boeing has lifted its dividend for five consecutive years. The dividend hike expected by Pearlstein in December would result in a dividend yield of about 2.4%, compared to the S&P 500’s 1.9% yield. Boeing currently pays an annual dividend of $5.68 per share, yielding 2.1%. With the higher dividend, Wells estimates BA’s payout ratio would reach 49% to 52%. The investment firm also expects BA to expand its share buyback program.

BA stock has had a stellar year so far, surpassing General Electric Co. (GE) in terms of total market capitalization for the first time ever and leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Last week, a team of analysts at Jefferies offered a bullish outlook for the aircraft leader, foreseeing earnings per share growth in the double-digit rate based on “robust demand” for its commercial aircrafts. (See also: Airbus, Boeing Land Over $75B in Aircraft Orders.)

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