Boeing Profits Soar, Beat Estimates

The aerospace and defense contractor posted strong sales of commercial planes and military jets.
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Aerospace and defense contractor

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

on Wednesday beat Wall Street's bottom line expectations, driven by strong demand for its airplanes.

The Chicago-based company posted a first-quarter profit from continuing operations of $1.21 billion, or $1.61 a diluted share, vs. $873 million, or $1.12 a diluted share. Total revenue came in at $15.99 billion, vs. $15.37 billion in the year-ago period.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected a profit of $1.35 a share on revenue of $16.52 billion.

"We're off to a good start in what we expect to be another strong year of financial performance for Boeing," Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney said in a company statement. "We are methodically working through our challenges, including the start-up of the 787, and our people remain focused on satisfying our customers and leveraging growth and productivity into better bottom-line and top-line performance for our company."

The company said total backlog reached a record $346 million, up 32% from last year, on orders for commercial airplanes and the V-22 military jet. It said progress of its delayed release of the 787 Dreamliner remains on its new schedule unveiled earlier this month. The company expects the first flight in the fourth quarter and deliveries to begin in the third quarter of 2009.

Boeing also reaffirmed its 2008 and 2009 guidance, which fell below Wall Street's expectations. The company sees earnings of between $5.70 and $5.85 a share, vs. analysts' expectation of $5.93 a share. For 2008, Boeing sees a profit of $6.80 to $7 a share, compared to analysts' view of $6.87 a share.

Shares rose 2.3% to $80.40 in recent premarket action.

Other aerospace companies did not fare well Tuesday. Shares of

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

fell in after-hours trading Tuesday, after it offered a

light full-year outlook

.

Shares of

Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

,

Raytheon

(RTN) - Get Report

,

Alliant Techsystems

(ATK)

and

L3 Communications

(LLL) - Get Report

all fell, while

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

was flat.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.