Wall Street expects Boeing Co to report a smaller quarterly profit on Wednesday on slipping commercial aircraft deliveries, while investors will be on alert for more signs of recovery and clues to the outlook for the long-delayed 787 Dreamliner.

The Dreamliner, in particular, may steal the show as the industry awaits executive comments about a newly revised delivery schedule. The company recently delayed first delivery to the third quarter from the first.

There's going to be lots of questions related to that and the status and the confidence they're going to have related to that, said Alex Hamilton, managing director of EarlyBirdCapital.

Analysts expect Boeing to report a fourth-quarter profit of $1.12 per share, excluding one-time items, down from $1.77 a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue is seen at $17.02 billion, down 4.9 percent from $17.9 billion a year earlier.

Boeing, which competes with EADS subsidiary Airbus, said this month it delivered 116 commercial aircraft in the fourth quarter, down from 122 a year earlier. Aircraft manufacturers only get paid on delivery, usually at least 18 months after purchase.

Airbus sold 644 planes in 2010, nineteen more than Boeing. For the eighth year running, Airbus also delivered more planes than its U.S. rival.

Chicago-based Boeing has said its financial forecasts and initial 787 deliveries for 2011 will be discussed after the company reports earnings.

The company is due to release its earnings at 7:30 a.m. EST (1230 GMT) on Wednesday.

Shares of Boeing, a Dow Jones industrial average component, have risen about 30 percent since the beginning of 2010, compared with a gain of about 14 percent for the index.