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Northrop Grumman Plunges on Missed Earnings, Lower 2020 Guidance

Northrop Grumman stock plunged following first-quarter earnings that miss analysts’ forecasts, even as sales from aerospace and defense deals continue to roll in.

Shares of aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman  (NOC) - Get Northrop Grumman Corporation Report plunged on Wednesday after the company reported first-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ forecasts, even as it registered higher sales from a year ago.

Shares of the Falls Church, Va.-based company plunged more than 18% in early trading after it said it earned $868 million, or $5.15 a share, in the first quarter, up slightly from $863 million, or $5.07 a share, it earned in the same period a year ago but well below the $5.51 a share analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting.

Revenue came in at $8.6 billion, 5% higher than the $8.1 billion in sales it recorded in the year-ago quarter and also above the $8.5 billion expected by analysts.

Sales in the company’s aeronautics systems, defense systems, mission systems and space systems all gained by single-digit percentages during the quarter as the company continued to provide its hardware, software and services to clients.

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First-quarter 2020 net awards totaled $7.9 billion and backlog orders totaled $64.2 billion, the company said, noting that “significant” first-quarter new awards for radar, defense and missile- detection systems included contracts totaling “multiple billions of dollars in the aggregate.”

Even so, CEO Kathy Warden said in a statement that the company is lowering its 2020 guidance “to reflect Covid-19 related impacts as we understand them today.” The company now expects full-year adjusted per-share earnings of between $21.80 and $22.20 vs. previous guidance of between $22.75 and $23.15 a share.

Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting 2020 earnings of $23.03 a share.

Shares of Northrop Grumman were down 18.6% at $325.93 in trading on Wednesday.