The defense company is scheduled to report its first-quarter results on Thursday. Analysts, on average, anticipate earnings of $1.70 a share on revenue of $10.56 billion."Large backlogs will support expectations; however, we are below consensus of $1.70 at $1.65 due to our conservative outlook for Aeronautics and Information Systems -- which is likely too low on the margin performance," Sterne Agee analysts wrote in an April 18 report. "We expect both the JSF and budget scenarios to dominate the conference call, along with the outlook for cash flows and shareholding-enhancing activities (dividend increases and buybacks). LMT has the highest yield among defense primes at 4.4%; this continues to support the stock in the near term." Shares of Lockheed Martin hit a 52-week Wednesday of $91.89. The stock's 52-week low of $66.36 was set on Aug. 11. Lockheed Martin's forward P/E is 10.75; the average for defense companies is 11.61. For comparison, General Dynamics (GD) has a lower forward P/E of 8.78. Seventeen of the 24 analysts who cover Lockheed Martin rated it hold. Five analysts gave the stock a buy rating and two rated it sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Lockheed Martin a B grade with a buy rating and $104.34 price target. The stock has risen 12.19% year to date.
Valspar "In a challenging demand environment, Valspar Corporation (VAL-NYSE) managed to produce strong results in its fiscal 1Q12 with EPS of $0.62 vs. $0.39 a year ago," KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts wrote in a Feb. 17 report. "Moving forward, we do expect some businesses to remain less than robust in terms of volume, specifically the U.S. DIY market, the Australian architectural market, and packaging coatings in Europe and North America. However, the Company should keep on benefiting from new business wins, strength in its coil, general industrial and powder coatings businesses and growth in the Asian and South American markets. We also expect total profitability to improve further moving into the seasonally stronger fiscal 2Q12 and 3Q12 due to the operating leverage, pricing actions and benefits from restructuring despite raw materials beginning to move upward once again." Shares of Valspar hit a 52-week high Wednesday of $51.15. The stock's 52-week low of $27.44 was set on Aug. 8. Valspar's forward P/E is 14.34; the average for building materials and fixtures companies is 25.91. For comparison, Masco (MAS) has a higher forward P/E of 20.06. Eight of the 13 analysts who cover Valspar rated it hold; five analysts gave the stock a buy rating. TheStreet Ratings gives Valspar a B+ grade with a buy rating and $62.68 price target. The stock has risen 31.1% year to date.