NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp reported a 2 percent increase in third-quarter profit on Tuesday, helped by higher sales of its information systems and a one-time gain deferred from selling its stake in two space launch businesses two years ago.
The world's largest defense contractor, which makes F-16 jets and a range of military and civil electronics, forecast earnings well below Wall Street estimates for next year, reflecting concern that growth in U.S. military spending will slow under the next administration as budget pressures increase.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based company reported quarterly profit of $782 million, or $1.92 per share, compared with $766 million, or $1.80 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Results were boosted by a one-time gain of $44 million, representing a portion of deferred gains from the 2006 sale of its stake in Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International and International Launch Services, which provided marketing and support services for commercial satellite launches.
Sales fell 5 percent to $10.6 billion, as the company had less work on the F-16 fighter jet -- which is being phased out as Lockheed's newer F-35 takes shape -- and it delivered no commercial satellites.
For the full year, it raised its earnings per share forecast 10 cents to a range of $7.55 to $7.70. Analysts are expecting $7.60, on average.
Lockheed made its first earnings forecast for next year of $7.65 per share to $7.90 per share. That is well below the $8.40 expected by analysts.
(Reporting by Bill Rigby)