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Lockheed Beats, Boosts Targets

Third-quarter profits jump 22%.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) - Get Report, continuing to benefit from strong demand for defense-related products, posted a 22% jump in third-quarter earnings and again lifted its forecast for the year.

The Bethesda, Md., aerospace and defense giant reported third-quarter earnings of $766 million, or $1.80 a share, up from $629 million, or $1.46 a share, a year earlier.

Sales rose to $11.1 billion from $9.61 billion the prior year.

The results handily beat analysts' targets for earnings of $1.64 a share and sales of $10.38 billion, based on estimates from Thomson Financial.

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The earnings climb came amid double-digit sales growth in each of Lockheed's segments. Its information systems and global services division saw the biggest growth, with sales rising 24% to $2.71 billion.

For 2007, Lockheed now expects earnings of $6.70 to $6.85 a share. The company has already lifted its 2007 profit forecast several times since last year, most recently projecting earnings of $6.65 to $6.80 a share.

Lockheed attributed the latest higher forecast to a reduction in unallocated expenses. The company maintained its full-year sales projection of $41 billion to $41.75 billion.

Analysts, on average, anticipate full-year earnings of $6.87 a share and sales of $41.69 billion.