Lockheed Martin's ( LMT) third-quarter earnings rose a stronger-than-expected 39% from last year, reflecting steady sales improvement in its technology, jet and space systems divisions.

The company issued guidance for 2006 that encompasses estimates.

For the three months to Sept. 30, Lockheed earned $427 million, or 96 cents a share, up from $307 million, or 69 cents a share, a year ago. Third-quarter sales rose 9% to $9.20 billion. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 90 cents a share on sales of $9.36 billion.

By segment, sales in Lockheed's systems and information technology group were $4.53 billion in the third quarter compared with $4.24 billion a year ago. Sales in its aeronautics group were $2.99 billion compared with $2.77 billion. Sales in space systems were $1.68 billion compared with $1.44 billion.

For 2005, Lockheed put full-year earning at $3.85 to $3.95 a share on sales of $37 billion to $37.5 billion. Analysts were forecasting earnings of $3.79 a share on sales of $37.7 billion. The estimate includes an expected fourth-quarter gain of 12 cents a share related to the sale of stock in a satellite company.

For 2006, Lockheed sees earnings of $4 to $4.25 a share on sales of $38 billion to $39.5 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $4.22 a share on sales of $39.46 billion.

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