Lockheed Up After Pentagon Contract

Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. soared to almost three-year highs on Monday after the largest U.S. defense contractor on Friday won a contract worth up to $200 billion to build a fleet of advanced fighter jets.

Shares of Chicago-based Boeing Co., which lost a head-to-head competition with Lockheed for the stealthy, low-cost Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), tumbled more than 8 percent. 

The Department of Defense's decision, announced after U.S. stock markets had closed on Friday, boosted Lockheed shares $1.48, or 3 percent, to $51.40, their highest level since December 1998. Lockheed was the fifth most-active stock on the New York Stock Exchange, with 7.7 million shares changing hands by early afternoon. 

The initial award gives Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Maryland, $19 billion to build a handful of JSFs and is expected to lead to a contract for 3,002 aircraft worth more than $200 billion in 1994 dollars, according to the Congressional Budget Office. 

Initial buyers include the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, plus Britain's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. 

Shares of Boeing, which still hopes for a subcontractor's role on JSF, tumbled $3.01, or 8 percent, to $34.67, the seventh most-active stock traded on the NYSE. Chief Executive Phil Condit on Friday said that losing the contract will cost the company $1 billion in revenues in 2002. 

Pentagon officials have said they would not discourage Lockheed from sharing the award with Boeing. Lockheed officials said they would share the award if the government asks for it. But doing so would jeopardize the cost savings at the heart of the program. 

"If you start breaking the contract and making new teams so that everyone gets a share of it, that is not a good way to keep costs down," said Jacques Gansler, who headed Pentagon procurement under the preceding Clinton Administration. "But if Boeing can give them a competitive price, it might make sense." 

Stocks of other JSF suppliers also traded actively. Shares of United Technologies Corp., owner of Pratt & Whitney, which will get $4.8 billion to develop a JSF engine, fell $1.98, or 3.5 percent, to $55.03, rolling back gains made on Friday, before the contract announcement. 

A wide range of companies will help build the fighter, including Northrop Grumman Corp., which is designing the center fuselage and weapons bay, as well as TRW Inc. and British defense contractor BAE Systems Plc. 

Northrop shares rose 98 cents to $103.98, while TRW dropped 62 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $33.90. BAE shares rose 1.45 percent in London trading on Monday. 

Shares of Harris Corp. rose $1.10, or 3.3 percent, to $34.75 after the communications equipment maker said it expected $2 billion in avionics work from Lockheed's contract. 

Shares of Honeywell International Inc. fell 70 cents to $29.30, a loss of 2.3 percent, though it announced it would receive more than $5 billion in revenues beginning early next year to supply components for JSF engines, landing gear and other systems. 

British manufacturer Smiths Group, on Friday said it expects more than $10 billion in JSF business over the lifetime of the aircraft. Smiths shares fell 2.2 percent in London trading on Monday.