Lockheed Martin Hits Record High Amid Boeing Battle

Lockheed Martin said solid F-35 sales over the final months of the year supported aeronautics sales and helped the defence group post stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.

Lockheed Martin Corp  (LMT) - Get Report shares hit an all-time high Tuesday after it posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings as F-35 sales supported aeronautics revenues in the defence group's ongoing battle with Boeing Co.  (BA) - Get Report

Lockheed Martin said earnings for the three months ending in December were pegged at $5.29 per share, a 20.5% gain from last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $5.02 per share. Group revenues, the company said, rose 10.4% to $15.9 billion, again topping analysts' forecasts of a $15.27 billion tally.

Looking into 2020, Lockheed Martin said its see net sales in the region of $62.75 billion to $64.25 billion with an estimated earnings range of between $23.65  and $23.95 per share.

 "The corporation delivered outstanding performance throughout 2019, achieving exceptional sales growth, strong earnings, cash from operations, and a record backlog," said CEO Marillyn Hewson. "As we look ahead to 2020, we remain focused on providing innovative global solutions for our customers, investing for growth across our portfolio, and generating long-term value for our shareholders."  

Lockheed Martin shares were marked 0.75% higher Tuesday following the earnings release to change hands at $435.58 each, after hitting an all-time high of $438.99 earlier in the session in a move that extends the stock's six-month gain to around 17.5%.

Lockheed Martin said F-35 sales hit $390 million in the quarter, helping Aeronautics sales rise 9% to $500 million and division profits rise 8%. Lockheed Martin said it delivered 134 F-35s over the final three months of the year, up 47% from the fourth quarter of 2018.

"Operating profit increased approximately $70 million for the F-35 program due to higher volume and risk retirements on sustainment and development contracts and higher risk retirements on production contracts," Lockheed Martin said. 

Boeing reports fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday, with investors looking for a bottom line of $1.47 per share, a near 75% plunge from last year, on revenues of $21.674 billion.

Boeing is also likely to book a significant 737 MAX-related charge as part of its fourth quarter earnings report after it detailed the weakest annual net aircraft orders in more than two decades last week, noting cancellations and conversions put the total at just 54 aircraft, compared to just under 900 across the whole of 2018.