BAE Systems plc  (BAESY) posted stronger-than-expected first half earnings Wednesday and held its full-year outlook unchanged despite the ongoing weakness in the U.S. dollar.

BAE said earnings per share for the six months ending in June was marked at 19.8 pence per share, modestly higher than the FactSet consensus of 19 pence but up 16.5% from the same period last year. Revenue for the first half hit £9.565 billion, BAE said, topping the FactSet forecast of £9.089 billion and up 9.76% from last year. 

"BAE Systems' performance in the first half was consistent with our expectations and guidance for the year. We have a sound platform for medium-term growth underpinned by a clear and consistent strategy," said CEO Charles Woodburn. "Strong programme execution, technology and enhanced competitive positions will be key in driving the business forward, and we will continue to focus on efficiency and meeting our customers' affordability challenges. With the expected improvement in the defence budget outlook in a number of our markets, the Group is well placed to continue to generate good returns for shareholders."

The group held to its full-year 2017 forecast of underlying earnings per share growth of between 5% to 10% "despite moving the US$ planning rate for the year from $1.25 to $1.28." The group also lifted its first half dividend by 2.32% to 8.8 pence per share. 

BAE Systems shares closed at 607 pence in London after rising 0.91% on the session and extending their year-to-date gain to just over 3%

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