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Courtenay: The Aerospace Sector Is Suddenly Soaring

Stocks in this article: LMT RTN

Concerning its best-in-breed dividend (currently yielding 5.15% at the closing price Friday of $89.99), it does concern me that it represents a 50% payout ratio.

When I factor in that at the beginning of 2013, LMT had total cash of $1.9 billion and operating cash flow (TTM) of $1.56 billion flowing in from its many government and private clients, I'm feeling more secure.

Another name in the aerospace and defense sector I like is Raytheon (RTN - Get Report) which rose Friday to $56.03 on below average volume. It pays a $2.00 annual dividend, a current yield-to-price of 3.57%.

In comparison to LMT, RTN's dividend represents a payout ratio of only 35% and is backed by over $4 billion in total cash as of the start of 2013.

Take a look at its one-year price chart with the year-over-year quarterly retained earnings growth line.

RTN Chart RTN data by YCharts
Oddly it looks very different than LMT's, and until we're assured that the quarterly retained earnings growth is heading north again, I'd be cautious about owning the shares of RTN. This is doubly concerning in light of the "sequester" situation.

When the "all clear" announcements are made both these stocks could move higher. For dividend-hungry investors, LMT and RTN are worth watching and perhaps accumulating on any corrections. Both are top-notch at what they do and how they are managed.

At the time of publication the author had a position in LMT.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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