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Northrop Grumman


reported better-than-expected earnings for the latest third quarter.

The defense contractor reported third-quarter earnings of $150 million, or $2.11 a share, up 29% from the $116 million, or $1.66 a share, reported for the same period a year ago. According to

First Call/Thomson Financial

, 11 analysts expected the company to earn $2.01 for the quarter.

Sales for the quarter slipped to $1.7 billion from $1.8 billion a year ago, primarily because of reduced B-2 revenue as the production phase of the program nears completion.