Lockheed Martin (LMT) - Get Report posted modestly weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Tuesday but said its 2019 outlook has improved thanks to demand for its F-35 aircraft.

The shares rose 1.5% in Tuesday's trading to close at $292.05.

Lockheed said earnings for the three months ending in December came in at $4.39 per share, swinging from a loss of $2.85 over the same period last year but just missing the Street consensus of $4.40. Group revenues, Lockheed Martin said, rose 4.4% to $14.41 billion, topping the $13.75 billion estimate, as the total order backlog grew to $130.5 billion. 

Lockheed Martin said 2019 sales should rise to between $55.75 and $57.25 billion this year, up around 6.5% from the 2018 t ally at the top end, and diluted earnings in the range of $19.15 to $19.45 per share, missing the Refinitiv forecast of $19.55 per share.

"The corporation completed another year of outstanding operational accomplishments and strong financial performance," said CEO Marillyn Hewson. "As we look ahead to 2019, we remain focused on performing with excellence for customers, and our record backlog and differentiating portfolio have us well-positioned for continued growth and long-term value creation for shareholders."

Lockheed Martin shares were marked 2% lower in the opening minutes of trading Tuesday to change hands at $281.94 each, a move that would keep the stock in negative territory over the past three months. 

Net sales in Lockheed's Aeronautics division rose 4% from last year, the company said, "primarily attributable to higher net sales of approximately $240 million for the F-35 program due to increased volume on production and sustainment, partially offset by lower volume on development activities."