* Profit $2.03/share vs Street forecast $1.74
* Sales $6.1 billion vs year-earlier $6.2 billion
WASHINGTON, April 24 Northrop Grumman Corp
reported higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings and
sales on Wednesday and stood by its previous forecast for the
full year despite what it called "an uncertain and constrained
Northrop, one of the largest U.S. weapons makers, reported
net earnings of $489 million, or $2.03 per share, compared with
$506 million, or $1.96 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue dipped to $6.1 billion from $6.2 billion.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had forecast
earnings of $425 million, or $1.74 a share, on sales of $5.96
Chief Executive Wes Bush said operating performance was
strong across the board in the quarter.
"Looking ahead, we recognize that we are operating in an
uncertain and constrained budget environment," Bush said in a
statement. Northrop will maintain its focus on "program
performance, effective cash deployment and portfolio alignment,"
The company repurchased 6.5 million shares during the
quarter, reducing its outstanding shares by 7 percent. It has $1
billion left on its current repurchase authorization.
Backlog at the end of the quarter was $39.4 billion,
compared with $40.8 billion as of Dec. 31, 2012.