Northrop Grumman Well above Analyst estimates with 80 percent increase in Earnings

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) fourth quarter earnings results showed significant improvement over the same time period in 2010 despite lower revenue. The defense contractor's earnings were also far and away from what analysts had predicted.

Northrop Grumman net income was 80 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2010, increasing to $550 million or $3.09 per diluted share. The figure was $306 million or $1.03 per diluted share in the same period last year which were impacted by a pre-tax charge of $229 million to pay off $682 million in debt. For all of 2011 Northrop Grumman netted $2.1 billion or $7.41 per diluted share. 21 analysts had estimated an average net income of $1.67 per share in the fourth quarter.

Despite the increase in earnings, sales were down in the fourth quarter to $6.5 billion versus $6.9 billion in Q4 2010. Total sales for 2011 amounted to $26.4 billion compared to $28.1 billion in 2010.

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