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Northrop Grumman 4Q profit falls 9 percent

NEW YORK — Defense contractor Northrop Grumman says its fourth-quarter profit fell 9 percent because of one-time costs and lower revenue at three of its biggest segments.

The Los Angeles company earned $376 million, or $1.27 per share, compared with $413 million, or $1.31 per share, in the same quarter of 2009. Excluding one-time gains and losses, Northrop Grumman posted earnings from continuing operations of $2 billion, or $6.77 per share, from $1.6 billion, or $4.87 per share for the year.

Revenue dropped 4 percent to $8.61 billion. Sales in its core aerospace, electronics and information systems segments fell. Three smaller units, including Northrop’s shipbuilding segment, posted higher revenue.

Aerospace system revenue was hurt by lower sales for civil space and missile defense programs. Electronics systems sales were tripped up as several contracts transitioned into new phases with lower volume. The company’s information systems unit was hurt by lower intelligence and defense program spending. Revenue in all three units was hurt by fewer working days in the period than a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet Research predicted earnings of $1.08 per share on revenue of $8.86 billion. Analysts tend to leave out one-time items from their estimates.

For the year, the company expects to earn between $6.40 and $6.60 per share, not including one-time items. The outlook reflects the planned spin-off of its shipbuilding business this year. Analysts expect earnings of $6.59 per share.