(Reuters) – U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin (N:) reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit, helped by higher sales in its aeronautics unit which makes the F-35 fighter jet, and raised its full-year earnings forecast.
The U.S. defense sector has fared better compared with other industries amid a slump in demand due to the coronavirus crisis, as the government has continued to purchase weapons while also providing support to defense contractors to pay the salaries of highly skilled workers.
Lockheed said deliveries of F-35 jets rose to 31 aircraft in the quarter ended Sept. 27, from 28 a year earlier.
The company said it now expects 2020 earnings per share of about $24.45, compared with its previous forecast of between $23.75 and $24.05 per share.
Lockheed also raised it full-year net sales outlook to $65.25 billion, from $63.5 billion to $65 billion previously.
Net earnings from continuing operations rose to $1.75 billion, or $6.25 per share, in the quarter, from $1.61 billion, or $5.66 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average expected Lockheed to earn $6.09 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
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