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Lockheed Martin boosts full-year forecast

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT-N) posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast, citing resolution of tax matters.
   
The fighter jet maker said net earnings were $530 million US, or $1.50 a share, compared with $533 million, or $1.41 a share, a year earlier.
  
Earnings from continuing operations were $1.55 a share, while analysts on average were expecting $1.51, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
   
There was a lower share count in the latest quarter, and Lockheed said a pension adjustment hurt earnings by 43 cents a share.
   
Sales rose about 3 percent to $10.63 billion.
   
Lockheed, the maker of C-130J military transport aircraft and developer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warplane, has shed nonessential operations and cut staff through voluntary buyouts as growth in U.S. defense spending is expected to moderate.
  
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama called for shaving $400 billion from U.S. security-related spending from fiscal 2013 through 2023 as part of deficit-reduction moves.
   
Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner said Lockheed was also consolidating facilities and looking to cut travel expenses.
   
"We're going to try to size the company and the workforce to the business base that we see going forward," Tanner told Reuters.
   
Over the next two years, he said, Lockheed expected  international sales to account for about 20 percent of total revenue, up from about 15 percent currently.
   
Lockheed forecast a profit of $6.95 to $7.25 a share from continuing operations for this year, compared with an earlier outlook of $6.70 to $7.00.
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