Raytheon earnings beat Street, raises 2012 forecast

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Raytheon Co, maker of Patriot missiles, radar and other military equipment, reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings despite a 1 percent drop in revenues, and raised its forecast for 2012 earnings.

Raytheon did not provide a detailed outlook for 2013 on Thursday, but said its high proportion of international sales and presence in priority military areas should help mitigate the impact if Congress fails to avert $500 billion in additional budget cuts due to start taking effect in January.

Raytheon's third-quarter results were largely in line with those of other weapons makers like Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, which also beat expectations and boosted earnings per share on the strength of margins.

Raytheon said earnings from continuing operations rose 6.3 percent to $1.51 per share from $1.42 in the year-earlier quarter, driven largely by operational improvements and the repurchase of 2.2 million shares for $125 million.

Revenue dropped nearly 1.2 percent to $6.045 billion in the third quarter, but bookings totaled $7.29 billion, up nearly 6 percent from a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimated $1.27 per share on revenue of $6.16 billion.

Raytheon raised its forecast for 2012 earnings per share to a range of $5.36 to $5.46 from $5.15 to $5.30.

``Our bookings in the quarter were strong, and we have significant opportunities in both domestic and international markets,'' Chief Executive William Swanson said.