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Lockheed Martin Profit Rises 6%

Lockheed Martin said Tuesday quarterly profit rose a greater-than-expected 6 percent, helped by higher sales of its electronic, information and space systems.

The world's largest defense contractor , which also runs a host of civil projects for the U.S. government, reported first-quarter profit of $730 million, or $1.75 per share, compared with $690 million, or $1.60 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

That easily beat Wall Street's average forecast of $1.63 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $10 billion, helped by higher sales of its electronic and information systems, but dragged back by a dip at its plane-making unit. Analysts were expecting $9.68 billion in quarterly sales, on average.

Lockheed, which makes F-16 fighter jets and Patriot missiles, but is branching further into non-military services, also raised its full-year profit forecast, chiefly due to better projected margins at its space unit.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company raised its 2008 earnings forecast by 10 cents to a range of $7.15 to $7.35 per share. Analysts are expecting $7.36 per share, on average.

Lockheed kept its full-year sales forecast unchanged in a range of $41.8 billion to $42.8 billion. Analysts are expecting $42.85 billion, on average.

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