Northrop Grumman 4Q profit falls, lowers outlook

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Defense contractor Northrop Grumman says its fourth-quarter profit fell 9 percent because of one-time costs and lower revenue at three of its biggest segments. It also lowered its outlook for the year.

The Los Angeles company earned $376 million, or $1.27 per share, compared with $413 million, or $1.31 per share, in the same quarter of 2009. Excluding one-time gains and losses, Northrop Grumman posted earnings from continuing operations of $2 billion, or $6.77 per share, from $1.6 billion, or $4.87 per share for the year.

Revenue dropped 4 percent to $8.61 billion. Sales in its core aerospace, electronics and information systems segments fell. Three smaller units, including Northrop’s shipbuilding segment, posted higher revenue.

Analysts polled by FactSet Research predicted earnings of $1.08 per share on revenue of $8.86 billion. Analysts tend to leave out one-time items from their estimates.

For the year, the company now expects to earn between $6.40 and $6.60 per share, not including one-time items. That’s down from its most recent estimate of $6.60 to $6.80 per share. The outlook reflects the planned sale of its shipbuilding business this year. Analysts expect earnings of $6.59 per share.