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Lockheed Martin raises 2018 forecast as strong defense funding fuels Pentagon business

  • Lockheed Martin stock gains after a strong earnings report and guidance boost.
  • Its largest division was helped by $185 million in sales for F-35 fighter jets.

Lockheed Martin on Tuesday bumped up its 2018 forecast and reported strong first-quarter earnings on the back of steady business with the Pentagon.

The defense contractor beat Wall Street's earnings per share expectation by 62 cents, with three of the company's four divisions bringing in more revenue than the same quarter last year. Lockheed Martin raised its 2018 forecast to a range of $15.80 to $16.10 earnings per share, as well as its revenue to a range of $50.35 billion to $51.85 billion — an increase of $350 million from the company's previous estimate.

Lockheed did not change its expected annual cash flow for the year, holding at $3 billion.

Shares of Lockheed Martin slipped 6 percent following the report, amid a broad sell-off in the S&P 500 Aerospace & Defense index. The index of 13 manufacturers declined nearly 3 percent in trading Tuesday.

Expectations vs. results

  • EPS: $4.02 per share vs. $3.40 per share forecast by Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $11.64 billion vs. $11.24 billion forecast by Thomson Reuters

The aeronautics division got a 7 percent boost over the same period last year, largely due to $185 million in sales related to F-35 fighter jets.

Lockheed Martin is negotiating with the Pentagon over the next batch of F-35s, honing in on the cost for 130 new aircraft. CEO Marillyn Hewson told CNBC in March that this "is a complex negotiation" due to the number of aircraft, and she expected the negotiations to continue for some time.

J.P. Morgan in February said Lockheed was one of the "early winners" under President Donald Trump's budget proposal, with increased orders for multiple military programs.

Lockheed's space division was its only business to see a year-over-year decline, with revenue falling 3 percent from last year. The company said the slip was due to "lower volume" of sales in its government and commercial satellite programs.

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