Northrop Grumman (NOC) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $347.00 price target on the aerospace company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “As one of the major U.S. defense contractors, Northrop continues to enjoy strong presence in Air Force, Space & Cyber Security programs. The company maintains a strong balance sheet and steady cash flow that offer substantial financial flexibility. Also, recent budgetary amendments made by the Trump administration have been in favor of defense biggies like Northrop. During the third quarter, the company’s investments included capital expenditures of $650 million, up 6.9% annually. With the acquisition of Orbital ATK, Northrop will benefit from the former's rocket motors, missiles and electro-optical countermeasure product lines. However, higher operating expenses tend to drag down Northrop's profit margin.”

A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Bank of America set a $350.00 price target on Northrop Grumman and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded Northrop Grumman from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and increased their target price for the stock from $317.00 to $355.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 12th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $374.00 target price on Northrop Grumman and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, November 16th. Deutsche Bank reiterated a buy rating and issued a $325.00 target price (up previously from $285.00) on shares of Northrop Grumman in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group set a $320.00 target price on Northrop Grumman and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, October 26th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $302.21.

Shares of Northrop Grumman (NYSE NOC) traded up $5.60 on Friday, reaching $315.15. The company had a trading volume of 705,100 shares, compared to its average volume of 795,039. The company has a market capitalization of $54,860.00, a P/E ratio of 23.48, a PEG ratio of 2.80 and a beta of 0.69. Northrop Grumman has a 12 month low of $223.88 and a 12 month high of $315.71. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96, a quick ratio of 1.05 and a current ratio of 1.21.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The aerospace company reported $3.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.92 by $0.76. The company had revenue of $6.53 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.33 billion. Northrop Grumman had a return on equity of 39.76% and a net margin of 9.24%. Northrop Grumman’s revenue was up 6.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $3.35 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Northrop Grumman will post 13.19 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, December 20th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 4th were paid a $1.00 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 1st. This represents a $4.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.27%. Northrop Grumman’s payout ratio is 29.81%.

In other news, COO Gloria A. Flach sold 7,741 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $296.45, for a total transaction of $2,294,819.45. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 77,200 shares in the company, valued at $22,885,940. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Denise M. Peppard sold 5,037 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $295.67, for a total value of $1,489,289.79. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 58,186 shares in the company, valued at approximately $17,203,854.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 21,417 shares of company stock worth $6,365,189. Insiders own 0.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in NOC. Stephens Inc. AR increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 13.9% during the second quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 4,192 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $1,076,000 after buying an additional 510 shares during the period. Seven Eight Capital LP purchased a new position in shares of Northrop Grumman during the second quarter valued at $154,000. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 0.9% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 12,884,929 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $3,307,687,000 after buying an additional 109,532 shares during the period. Amalgamated Bank increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 50.7% during the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 19,237 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $4,938,000 after buying an additional 6,469 shares during the period. Finally, BlueMountain Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Northrop Grumman by 10.2% during the second quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC now owns 7,927 shares of the aerospace company’s stock valued at $2,035,000 after buying an additional 732 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.10% of the company’s stock.

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About Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global security company. The Company provides products, systems and solutions in autonomous systems; cyber; command, control, communications and computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR); strike, and logistics and modernization. The Company’s segments include Aerospace Systems, Mission Systems and Technology Services.

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