Home / News / Weekly Roundup August 22 – August 26 2016: JPMorgan Analyst Bullish on Defense & more

Weekly Roundup August 22 – August 26 2016: JPMorgan Analyst Bullish on Defense & more

August 22 – August 26 2016

A Note From Our President & Founder Jim Garrettson

An investment analyst at the U.S.’ biggest and world’s fifth largest bank endorsed the defense sector this week in a note to investors with a forecast that views continued “green” movement in stock prices.

Seth Seifman of JPMorgan predicted the average defense stock could rise by at least 10 percent over the next 16 months and said investors should look to these companies for steady returns to shareholders and visibility into their cash flows.

“Big Five” defense primes General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman in particular have been among the more aggressive companies of recent times in terms of stock buybacks and dividend payments to shareholders.

General Dynamics has cut its outstanding shares by nearly 14 percent since Phebe Novakovic took the helm as CEO in January 2012, Lockheed has taken its share count down by almost 6 percent during Marillyn Hewson’s three-and-a-half years as chief executive so far, and Northrop has bought back roughly a third of its stock under Wes Bush’s leadership over six-and-a-half years.

Each of those three has either consistently maintained or increased quarterly dividends year-over-year under their current CEOs, while General Dynamics will use its full free cash flow from 2015 for stock repurchases and dividend payments in 2016.

When including other Big Five members Boeing and Raytheon, the average defense prime stock price has roughly doubled over five years with General Dynamics up nearly 180 percent as both Lockheed and Northrop shares have tripled over that time span.

Lockheed’s stock has taken an almost 8-percent hit since the contractor spun off and merged its former services business into Leidos Aug. 16 on potential earnings dilution after share repurchases related to the transaction fell short of guidance given to investors.

But as Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner noted in July, one factor “working against” the F-35 maker in the repurchase effort was that stock’s extended rise by almost 22 percent over six months after the initial Jan. 26 announcement of the deal with Leidos.

Essentially, Lockheed’s stock got more expensive to buy between January and July for everybody including the company itself even with the $1.8 billion dividend Leidos paid to Lockheed that contributed to the repurchase initiative.

Time will tell if the other shareholder-focused contractors face the same issues in buybacks of their own stock and whether investors will decide to stay in for the long game as many analysts forecast continued growth in military spending over the next decade,  or look to take their profits soon.

THE WEEK’S OTHER TOP 10 GOVCON STORIES

Parsons Names Vice Chairman Tom Roell to Interim Federal Leadership Post
Roell will continue to be based at Parsons’ global headquarters in Pasadena, Calif. and hold his vice chairman and chief risk adviser roles.
Mary Ann Hopkins Joins Arcadis as Executive for the Americas
Parsons’ former federal group leader will start at the Amsterdam-based engineering and design consultancy services provider on Sept. 26.
Lockheed Vet Michael Grasso Joins Engility as Business Development Leader
Grasso will report directly to Engility CEO Lynn Dugle and hold a senior VP title at the Chantilly, Virginia-based government services contractor.
Navy Awards Raytheon Potential $723M Contract to Develop Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar
Raytheon will build the radar to support self-defense and air traffic control functions on Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers and other classes of ships.
Army Taps DRS for $400M Joint Assault Bridge Development IDIQ; Joe Matteoni Comments
DRS and its partner Israel Military Industries will design a platform to help combat vehicles and soldiers cross over rough terrain.
Booz Allen to Help JIDA Build, Field IED Countermeasures Under Potential $380M Task Order
GSA’s FEDSIM Center awarded Booz Allen the potential five-year order under the Alliant information technology contract vehicle.
Lockheed Secures Potential $10B IDIQ for Air Force C-130J Production Support
Foreign military sales are included in the 10-year contract to continue building the Super Hercules tactical airlifter.
AT&T Lands Labor Dept Mobile Service Support Contract; Mike Leff Comments
DOL aims to get smartphones and a new push-to-talk service for its wage and hour division employees under the five-year contract.
Craig McKinley, NDIA President & CEO, to Retire at Year’s End
McKinley will conclude his two-year tenure at the trade association on Dec. 31 and Korn Ferry will work with NDIA to search for a new chief executive.
Matt Desch: Potential Iridium NEXT Customers Eye Data Quality Preview Before Commitments
Iridium’s chief executive says the initial launch of 10 NEXT satellites is scheduled to take place between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1.

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