Lockheed Martin Raises Guidance on Strong Quarter

By Ezequiel Minaya Features Dow Jones Newswires

Lockheed Martin Corp. raised its full-year guidance for sales and profit Tuesday, as the company's latest quarterly results exceeded Wall Street expectations, boosted by sales in its aeronautics segment.

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Sales in Lockheed's aeronautics business, the largest contributor to the company's top line, jumped 19.4%, driven by sales in its F-35 program.

Shares rose 1.5% to $292.66 in premarket trading.

For the year, the company now expects net sales between $49.8 billion and $51 billion, up from a previous range of $49.5 billion to $50.7 billion. Lockheed also expects earnings on a per-share basis to land between $12.30 and $12.60, up from a previous range of $12.15 to $12.45.

As the world's largest defense company by sales, Lockheed Martin is the industry's bellwether. The company has also been in the public spotlight lately as it has grappled with policy uncertainty in Washington.

The U.S. defense budget has received a modest bump, but there are lingering questions about future growth as the White House develops its military strategy, and instability in the Middle East rattles key export markets.

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Lockheed claimed $28 billion in potential new business from Saudi Arabia during President Donald Trump's May state visit, but gave little detail on its breakdown. Recent regional tensions surrounding Qatar have raised more questions over the timeline for closing deals in a crucial area for U.S. defense exports.

In all for the quarter ended in June, Lockheed Martin reported a profit of $942 million, or $3.23 a share a share, down from $1.02 billion, or $3.32 a share, a year earlier. Earnings from continuing operations on a per-share basis rose to $3.23 from $2.93. Revenue rose 9.6% to $12.69 billion.

Analysts were looking for per-share earnings of $3.11 on $12.44 billion in sales.

The Pentagon is set to move forward with some big programs this year, and Lockheed Martin leads the sector with potential opportunities worth as much as $55 billion, estimates Jefferies & Co. It is facing off against Boeing Co. in three of them: the GBSD land-based nuclear missile fleet, the LRSO air-launched missile program and the T-X Air Force trainer jet.

Write to Ezequiel Minaya at ezequiel.minaya@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 18, 2017 08:39 ET (12:39 GMT)