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Northrop Grumman (NOC) Up 5.8% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Northrop Grumman (NOC). Shares have added about 5.8% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Northrop Grumman due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Northrop Grumman Beats on Q2 Earnings, Ups '20 View

Northrop Grumman reported second-quarter 2020 earnings of $6.01 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.36 by 12.1%. The bottom line also increased 19% from $5.06 reported in the year-ago quarter.

Total Sales

In second-quarter 2020, Northrop Grumman reported total sales of $8,884 million, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $8,589 million by 3.4%. Sales also increased 5% from the year-ago quarter’s $8.456 million. The upside was primarily driven by a solid double-digit increase in the Space Systems’ sales.

Backlog Count

Northrop Grumman’s total backlog stood at $70 billion at the end of second-quarter 2020 compared with $64.84 billion at 2019-end. Of the total backlog, $33.86 billion was funded.

Segmental Details

Effective Jan 1, 2020, Northrop made some structural changes in its reportable segments.

Aeronautics Systems: Segment sales of $2,925 million grew 7% year over year as a result of higher sales from both autonomous systems and manned aircraft.

Operating income improved 4% to $310 million, whereas operating margin contracted 40 basis points (bps) to 10.6%.

Mission Systems: Segment sales increased 2% to $2,446 million, driven by higher sales volume from airborne sensors and network programs.

Operating income rose 3% to $347 million, with operating margin expanding 10 bps to 14.2%.

Defense Systems: Sales at this segment declined 2% to $1,886 million due to lower volumes in battle management & missile system programs.

Operating income increased 2% to $217 million, while operating margin expanded 40 bps to 11.5%.

Space Systems: Space Systems’ second-quarter 2020 sales increased 15% to $2,048 million owing to higher sales from both Space and Launch & Strategic Missiles programs.

The segment’s operating income improved 8% to $209 million, while operating margin contracted 60 bps to 10.2%.

Operational Update

Total operating costs and expenses at the end of the quarter were $7,890 million, up 5.1% from the year-ago quarter’s $7,510 million.

Operating income during the quarter increased 5% year over year to $994 million.

Financial Condition

Northrop Grumman’s cash and cash equivalents as of Jun 30, 2020, were $4,178 million, up from $2,245 million as of Dec 31, 2019.

Long-term debt (net of current portion) as of Jun 30, 2020, was $14,259 million, up from $12,770 million as of Dec 31, 2019.

Net cash inflow from operating activities as of Jun 30, 2020, was $1,344 million compared with $694 million as of Jun 30, 2019.

2020 Guidance

Northrop Grumman has raised its 2020 financial guidance and expects to generate revenues of $35.3-$35.6 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s full-year sales, pegged at $35.19 billion, lies below its projected view.

It expects free cash flow of $3.15-$3.55 billion for 2020.

Northrop Grumman has also raised its full-year earnings expectations from $21.80-$22.20 to $22.00-$22.40 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2020 earnings, pegged at $22.12, lies below the midpoint of the company’s guidance.

 


 

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in estimates review.

VGM Scores

Currently, Northrop Grumman has a strong Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a C. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of B on the value side, putting it in the top 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, Northrop Grumman has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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