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Northrop Grumman reports big profit, sales beats but provides downbeat outlook

Shares of Northrop Grumman Corp. NOC, -0.30% were indicated down nearly 1% in premarket trading Thursday, after the aeronautics and defense company reported big fourth-quarter profit and sales beats but provided a downbeat outlook for 2021. The company swung to net income of $330 million, or $1.97 a share, from a loss of $409 million, or $2.43 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose to $6.59 from $5.61, above the FactSet consensus of $5.76. Sales rose 17% to $10.21 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $9.27 billion, as sales from its aeronautics, defense, mission systems and space business segments all rose above forecasts. Based on what the company currently expects from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 adjusted EPS is expected to be $23.15 to $23.65, below the current FactSet consensus of $24.17, and sales are expected to be $35.10 billion to $35.50 billion, compared with forecasts of $37.44 billion. Earlier this week, the company said it increased its stock repurchase program by $3 billion. The stock has slipped 0.5% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 SPX, -2.57% has gained 14.7%.

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