Defense company Northrop Grumman ( NOC) affirmed its 2003 earnings forecast.

The company expects to earn $3.80 to $4.20 a share. Analysts expect the company to earn $4.01 a share. Northrop Grumman earned $5.72 a share last year.

The Los Angeles-based company said it still expects 2003 cash from operations to be $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion, excluding a $1.0 billion B-2 tax payment.

Separately, the company said it will pay about $111 million to settle claims that TRW, acquired by Northrop Grumman in December 2002, misclassified various costs and improperly charged those costs to certain of its federal contracts. The company denied any liability for violating the False Claims Act.

Northrop Grumman said the settlement amount was contemplated in the company's acquisition of TRW.

Shares were recently down slightly to $85.22 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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