Northrop boosts profit, raises full-year forecast

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:48am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), one of the largest U.S. weapons makers, reported higher second-quarter earnings on Wednesday and raised its forecast for the full year, despite Pentagon budget cuts.

Northrop, maker of Global Hawk unmanned spy planes and defense electronics, reported a net profit of $488 million, or $2.05 per share, up from $480 million, or $1.88, a year earlier.

Shares outstanding were down 7 percent from the year-earlier period. The company said it has repurchased 12.6 million shares this year, part of its goal of buying back 60 million shares by the end of 2015 if market conditions permit.

Second-quarter revenue edged up to $6.29 billion from $6.27 billion.

Northrop raised its earnings guidance for the full year to a range of $7.60 to $7.80 per share from an earlier forecast of $6.85 to $7.15. It said revenue would likely reach $24.3 billion, up from an earlier forecast of $24 billion.

The company's operating margin edged slightly higher to 12.8 percent in the second quarter. It said it now expects 12 percent for the full year, nearly a full percentage point above the upper range of an earlier forecast.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and John Wallace)

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