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Lockheed Martin Guidance Falls Short

By Doug Cameron 

Lockheed Martin Corp. said Tuesday it expects slower sales growth next year, with domestic budget headwinds and changing Pentagon priorities clouding the outlook for defense contractors.

The world's largest defense company by sales expects revenue to grow to around $62 billion in 2020, below the pace expected by investors who have driven its shares up 45% so far this year as profits soared on growing deliveries from its more than $100 billion backlog of orders for missiles, space equipment and F-35 combat jets.

Lockheed Martin provided its outlook alongside forecast-beating quarterly earnings and still expects to meet its longstanding pledge on generating cash and returning it to shareholders via buybacks and dividends, though it cautioned this could be hit by complex relations between the U.S. and Turkey, one of its largest export markets.

The company's initial 2020 outlook follows two strong quarters of growth, but the absence of raised guidance sent its shares down more than 2% in pre-open trade.

Lockheed Martin's sales guidance compares with expectations for revenues of $59 billion this year, with free cash above $7.2 billion and margins of up to 10.8%, at the low end of analysts' expectations.

Profit in the September quarter rose to $1.61 billion from $1.47 billion, with per-share earnings climbing to $5.70 from $5.18, well above the $5.02 consensus among analysts polled by FactSet.

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 22, 2019 08:41 ET (12:41 GMT)

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