Lockheed Martin Gets Lift From F-35, Space Contracts


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Even asLockheed Martin 's ( LMT ) F-35 stealth fighter sets flight-test milestones, the defense contractor is busy securing space contracts.

The Navy on Monday successfully test-launched from a submarine two missiles built by Lockheed. That marked the 150th successful test launch and set a new reliability record for large ballistic missiles, according to the aircraft and defense gear maker.

This week, Lockheed is slated to deliver an F-16 fighter jet to Iraq, the first of 36 the country ordered in 2011 and 2012.

On Monday, the Bethesda, Md.-based company landed a $914.7 million contract from the Department of Defense to track space junk for the U.S. Air Force's Space Fence program. It defeated rivalRaytheon ( RTN ), which had also bid for the contract.

Late last month Lockheed said it's buyingAstrotech 's ( ASTC ) Space Operations business, which provides satellite launch preparation services, for $61 million.

Lockheed, which has paid a quarterly dividend since 1995, announced in April its latest quarterly payout of $1.33 a share. That amounts to $5.32 for the year, or a 3.2% yield, outpacing the S&P 500's 1.88%.

Annual earnings per share have risen the past four years, with analysts expecting a 10% gain this year and 6% in 2015. Its five-year Earnings Stability Factor of 4 on a scale of 0 (most stable) to 99 (least stable) reflects that steady growth.

Sales dipped 4% last year due to sequestration -- government spending cuts -- following five years of low-single-digit gains. Consensus estimates call for a 1% decline this year and next. The defense contractor's sales are heavily dependent on a single customer: The U.S. government accounted for 82% of its revenue in 2012.

The stock has been forming a flat base since Feb. 24, when it marked a new high. The potential buy point is 168.51. Shares soared 61% last year, vs. the S&P 500's 30% gain.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing Investing Ideas
Referenced Stocks: LMT , RTN , ASTC

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