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General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman Profits Rise

Both General Dynamicsand Northrop Grummanbeat Wall Street expectations Wednesday with their quarterly profit, as rising demand helped the defense-sector companies post bumper revenues.

General Dynamics posted a better-than-expected 25 percent jump in quarterly earnings Wednesday and raised its full-year earnings forecast above Wall Street's expectations as it benefits from strong demand for its military vehicles and business jets.

The No. 4 U.S. defense contractor, which owns jet maker Gulfstream, reported quarterly net profit of $546 million, or $1.34 per share, compared with $438 million, or $1.08 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Profit beat Wall Street expectations of $1.26 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 13 percent to $6.8 billion, boosted by a 37 percent jump at its military vehicles unit and a 21 percent rise at its Gulfstream division. Analysts expected $6.82 billion.

The company, which makes Abrams tanks, Stryker fighting vehicles and submarines and ships for the U.S. Navy, said its total order backlog rose to $46.5 billion at the end of the third quarter from $44.6 billion at the end of the second quarter.

General Dynamics raised its forecast for full-year 2007 earnings from continuing operations to a range of $5.00 to $5.05 per share compared with its July range of $4.85 to $4.90 per share.

Wall Street analysts, on average, expect the company to post 2007 earnings of $4.96 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Northrop Grumman Profit Rises on IT, Ship sales

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman said Wednesday third-quarter profit rose more than expected, helped by strong sales at its information technology and shipbuilding units.

The No. 3 Pentagon supplier behind Lockheed Martin and Boeing also raised its full-year profit forecast but made no projections for next year.

Northrop reported quarterly net profit of $489 million, or $1.41 per share, compared with $302 million, or 86 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Results beat Wall Street's earnings forecast of $1.27 per share, according to Reuters Estimates. Revenue rose 7 percent to $7.9 billion, a little below analysts' average estimate of $7.95 billion.

The company raised its full-year profit forecast to about $5.10 per share, up from its previous estimate of $4.90 to $5.05 per share. Analysts are expecting $5.05 per share, on average.

Northrop kept its forecast of about $31.5 billion revenue for the full year. Analysts are expecting $31.61 billion on average. The company has not yet made any forecasts for 2008.