BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) ¿ Defense contractor Esterline Technologies Corp. on Thursday reported better than expected results for its fiscal fourth quarter, but issued a cautious earnings outlook for the new fiscal year.

CEO Brad Lawrence said the quarterly results were helped by "a strong finish" from the company's Canadian avionics operation, including a new military trainer cockpit and C-130 avionics retrofits.

In the quarter ended Oct. 30, Esterline earned $34.5 million, or $1.15 per share, compared with $43.9 million, or $1.46 per share, a year earlier. Excluding a tax gain, it earned $1.07 per share in the latest period.

Revenue slipped to $394.7 million from $404.4 million a year earlier.

While the results declined year-over-year, they still topped estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who on average forecast profit of $1 per share and sales of $374.1 million.

For the full year, the company earned $119.8 million, or $4 per share, on sales of $1.43 billion, compared with $120.5 million, or $4.03 per share, on sales of $1.48 billion, the year before.

Esterline said that revenue in the fiscal year that started last month is expected to grow 3 percent to 5 percent, implying sales of $1.47 billion to $1.50 billion, in range of analysts' $1.48 billion estimate. However, earnings are expected to range between $3.20 and $3.45 per share ¿ well below analysts' average forecast of $3.55 per share.

The shares fell $1.47, or 3.5 percent, to close at $41 before the results were announced.

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