Intl Investment...'s  Instablog

Intl Investment Services
Send Message
International Investment Services specializes at investment analysis and trading techniques. Strength of the team includes academic research and pragmatic execution. In addition to the US markets, Asian market analysis, especially the Greater China (China, HongKong, Taiwan), is one of the core... More
  • What Happened To Defense Industry? 0 comments
    Aug 2, 2013 9:53 AM | about stocks: GD, LLL, LMT, NOC

    A handful of defense contractors beat earnings readily last quarter. Companies also raised their 2013 outlooks. It seems as if the sequestration effect does not exist. In short, strong operating performance is a big contributor to earnings. Looking forward, cost control is the key to remain current EPS level in the next few quarters.

    With that said, there are weaker players that have less to trim and further cut would hurt productivity. We sample General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), L-3 communications (NYSE:LLL), and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC).

    GD: Q2 2013 operating earnings of $1.81 per share. Earnings were up from the year-ago figure by 4 cents. Operating margins in Q2 2013 were 11.8%, unchanged with prior-year level.



    Change prior-year

    Operating income

    Change prior-year






    Combat Systems





    Marine Systems





    Information Systems





    LMT: Q2 2013 EPS $2.64 per share due to strong operational performance, up 11% from year-ago. LMT did forecast a revenue reduction of $825M due to military spending cut in 2013. Revenues fell 4%.



    Change prior-year

    Operating profit

    Change prior-year






    Information Systems





    Missiles and Fire Control





    Mission Systems & Training





    Space Systems





    LLL: Q2 diluted EPS $2.03, an increase of 5% year-over-year. Net sales were up 2%. Operating margins, however, have seen minor decrease.



    Change prior-year

    Operating margin

    Change prior-year






    Electronic Systems





    Platform and Logistics Solutions





    National Security Solutions





    NOC reported Q2 EPS $1.97 per share due to stock repurchase and strong operating income, up 4.1% year-over-year. Operating margin rose to 12.8% from 12.3% a year before. Sales were flat.



    Change prior-year

    Operating income

    Change prior-year

    Aerospace Systems





    Electronic Systems





    Information Systems





    Technical Services





    We compare quarterly EPS to identify trends. NOC and LLL have seen downward trend, even with stock buy-back program. LMT currently has the highest quarterly EPS in the past four years so it is reasonable to think it would be harder to boost EPS anymore. We rule out GD's quarterly EPS because it gained strongly in Q2 but is a bit harder to judge as it had abnormal Q1 earnings. So we think GD's EPS Q2 was an outlier. If we were to ignore GD's Q1 2013, GD would have been flat as well.

    (click to enlarge)

    When coming to gross profit, only LLL has downward trend while the other three are uptick. Note that LLL has the smallest profit base among the four. This also means L-3 has less costs to cut while sailing through the sequestration. Up to this point, we may suggest LLL be the least well positioned. So look further on quarterly revenue to seek confirmation.

    (click to enlarge)

    LLL indeed is the only one showing downward trend in quarterly revenue. Sooner or later L-3 needs to come up with more operating performance to offset revenue shortage when the sequestration headwind comes at full throttle.

    (click to enlarge)

    Conclusion: LLL is the weakest one among the four. If sequestration indeed starts hits the industry, which few would doubt it won't, LLL may be the hardest hit. In order to keep up with the peers, both LLL and NOC need to cut more costs or buy back stocks to keep with its peers while not hurting its productivity.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Stocks: GD, LLL, LMT, NOC
Back To Intl Investment Services' Instablog HomePage »

Instablogs are blogs which are instantly set up and networked within the Seeking Alpha community. Instablog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors, in contrast to contributors' articles.

Comments (0)
Track new comments
Be the first to comment
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers
Instablogs are Seeking Alpha's free blogging platform customized for finance, with instant set up and exposure to millions of readers interested in the financial markets. Publish your own instablog in minutes.