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Defense Stock Roundup: Q3 Earnings Beat at NOC, GD, BA, RTN, LLL; LMT Wins $536M Deal

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More than 90% of the companies in the Aerospace and Defense space have released their financial numbers for the Q3 reporting cycle. Impressively 77.8% of the companies posted an earnings beat in the quarter, with major defense biggies making it to the headlines for the stellar quarterly performance.

Consequently, the major indices for the Aerospace and Defense sector ended in the green last week. While the S&P 500 Aerospace & Defense (Industry) index rallied 2.99%, the Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index gained 0.28% over the trailing five trading sessions.

Among last week’s highlights, defense primes L-3 Communications Holdings , Raytheon Company (RTN - Free Report) , Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC - Free Report) , The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) General Dynamics Corp. (GD - Free Report) and Harris Corporation reported an earnings beat.

(Read Defense Stock Roundup for Oct 26, 2016 here.)

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1. Global security provider, Northrop Grumman reported third-quarter results, wherein adjusted EPS surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.5% and the year-ago figure by 25.3%.

Revenues also comfortably beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as the year-ago quarter’s equivalent number by 2.9%. On the guidance front, Northrop Grumman raised its 2016 revenue expectations to the range of $23.9–$24.1 billion from the previous $23.5 –$24.0 billion.

The company also raised its guidance for diluted earnings per share to the band of $11.55–$11.75 from the prior projection of $10.75–$11.00 (read more: Northrop Beats on Q3 Earnings, Sales; Lifts '16 View).

2. Defense prime General Dynamics’ third-quarter 2016 earnings from continuing operations came in at $2.48 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.37 by 4.6%. Reported earnings improved 8.8% from $2.28 recorded in the year-ago quarter.

However, the company’s total revenue missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.2%. Reported revenues were also down 3.3% from the year-ago quarter due to lower contributions from the Aerospace, Combat Systems and Marine segments.

As of Oct 2, 2016, General Dynamics’ cash and cash equivalents were $2,303 million, compared with $3,372 million as of Oct 4, 2015 (read more: General Dynamics Beats Earnings, Misses Sales in Q3).

3.  Aircraft giant Boeing reported adjusted earnings per share for third-quarter 2016 which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a wide margin of 34%. Reported earnings were also up 39.3% from the year-ago figure. The quarterly number reflects solid overall execution of production programs and services, favorable tax items and timing of aircraft deliveries.

The company's revenues also exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.8%. The reported figure, however, declined 7.5% year over year. Backlog at the end of the third quarter was down to $462.0 billion from $489.3 billion at 2015-end.

Boeing raised its adjusted or core earnings per share expectation for 2016 to the range of $6.80–$7.00 from $6.10–$6.30 expected earlier. The company also lifted its 2016 revenue guidance to the range of $93.5−$95.5 billion from the prior guidance of $93−$95 billion (read more: Boeing Beats on Q3 Earnings & Revenues, Lifts View).

4. Defense contractor L-3 Communications’ third-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings per share exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.3%. Earnings also improved 7.4% from the year-ago figure.

Total revenue in the quarter missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.9%. Revenues were also down 2.3% year over year. Funded orders reflected a 22.2% year-over-year increase, while funded backlog was down 1.5%.

The company increased its revenue forecast to the $10,250−$10,350 billion band (previous guidance: $10,150−$10,250 billion).The adjusted earnings per share outlook was raised to the range of $7.85−$7.95 per share from the earlier projection of $7.65−$7.85 (read more: L-3 Communications Q3 Earnings Beat, Raises View).

5. Raytheon’s third-quarter 2016 earnings from continuing operations exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.1%. Earnings also increased 21.8% from the year-ago figure.

Third-quarter revenues demonstrated 4.3% year-over-year growth. The reported number also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.3%. Total backlog at the end of the quarter was $35.81 billion, up from $33.57 billion a year ago.

Raytheon raised the upper limit of its 2016 revenue guidance. The company currently expects revenues in the range of $24.2–$24.5 billion, compared to the earlier range of $24.0–$24.5 billion. Management also upgraded its earnings projection to the band of $7.28–$7.38 per share from $7.13−$7.33 for 2016 (read more: Raytheon Beats Q3 Earnings Estimates; Raises View).

6. Harris Corporation’s first-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings per share (on an adjusted basis for the quarter ended Sep 30, 2016) beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4 cents. Quarterly earnings also improved 6.1% on a year-over-year basis. Revenues in the first quarter beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.73 billion but declined 3.3% from the year-ago figure.

Harris Corp inked a deal worth $425 million to sell its CapRock Communications business to SpeedCast International Limited. Harris intends to utilize the proceeds from the deal, expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, to reduce debts and fund shareholder-friendly activities.

Harris Corp still projects earnings per share (on an adjusted basis) in the band of $5.70 to $5.90 for fiscal 2017. Meanwhile, the fiscal 2017 revenue guidance is maintained in the band of $7.11 billion to $7.33 billion (read more: Harris Corp Beats Q1 Earnings and Revenue Estimates).

7. Meanwhile, Pentagon’s prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT - Free Report) has secured a modification contract worth $536.4 million for F-22 sustainment services. The deal has been awarded by Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Work related to the deal is expected to be over by Dec 31, 2017.

Notably, F-22 is Lockheed Martin’s 5th generation combat aircraft that offers a combination of stealth, agility, speed and situational awareness combined with lethal long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon systems.

Last Week’s Performance

Majority of the prime defense securities put up a weak show last week, except for Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins Inc. . In the last five trading sessions, L-3 Communicationslost the maximum, having declined 8.26%, followed by Raytheon.

However, over the past six months, most of these stocks scored high returns, except for Rockwell Collins. Northrop Grumman recorded the highest gain, followed by Boeing.

The following table shows the price movement of the major defense players over the past five trading days and the last six months.

CompanyLast WeekLast 6 Months

What’s Next in the Defense Sector?

Leidos Holdings, Inc. (LDOS - Free Report) , Triumph Group, Inc. (TGI - Free Report) and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII - Free Report) are set to release third-quarter 2016 financial results before the market opens on Nov 3.

Honeywell International Inc. (HON - Free Report) will attend the Goldman Sachs Industrial Conference on Nov 3, 2016.

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