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Boeing hits sales record — and says 2019 will be even better

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner lifts off for its first flight on January 29, 2016 in Renton, Washington. The 737 MAX is the newest of Boeing's most popular airliner featuring more fuel efficient engines and redesigned wings. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Boeing had its best year ever in 2018, and it expects this year to be even better.

The airplane maker posted sales of more than $100 billion for the first time in its 102-year history because of increases in commercial and military jet deliveries.

Boeing, the nation’s leading exporter, was not slowed by concerns about trade disputes.

Sales rose 8% to $101 billion and topped forecasts. The company said it expects 2019 sales to come in between $109.5 and $111.5 billion.

The company delivered a record 806 commercial jets in the year, up nearly 6% from a year earlier. That lifted revenue in the unit by 5%, and income from commercial jets by 45%.

Sales in its defense, space and security business rose 13% for the year. But that unit reported lower income and thinner profit margins.

Still, strong earnings from commercial jets allowed fourth quarter income to far exceed Wall Street forecasts. Companywide full-year operating income rose 20% to $10.7 billion. And the company said it also expects higher income this year.

Shares of Boeing (BA), one of the best performers on the Dow so far this year, shot up 6% in early trading Wednesday on the report. Shares had already been up 14% for the year.

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