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JPMorgan upgrades Lockheed Martin stock citing positive FCF outlook

EditorEmilio Ghigini
Published 15/04/2024, 11:28
LMT
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On Monday, JPMorgan made a notable adjustment to its stance on Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) stock, shifting the rating from Neutral to Overweight and increasing the price target to $518 from the previous $475.

The change reflects a positive outlook on the company's future financial performance, with the new price target based on a 5.25% yield on the forecasted 2025 free cash flow (FCF) per share of $27.

Lockheed Martin, a key player in the Defense sector, has not matched market performance, remaining flat year-to-date. Additionally, the stock has seen a 5% decline over the past year, where the market overall has risen by 26%.

The underperformance is attributed to various factors, including macroeconomic concerns like a potential slowdown in Defense budget growth and political uncertainties that have made the Defense sector less attractive amidst market trends favoring artificial intelligence and other sectors.

Despite these challenges, the Defense industry received the necessary fiscal year 2024 budget last month, alleviating some concerns. The expectation of supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and others could also provide support. While political factors may continue to affect the sector during an election year, the high level of geopolitical risk, as observed over the past weekend, could position Defense stocks favorably in the market.

Lockheed Martin, in particular, has faced specific company issues, such as the inability to deliver F-35 jets and pending charges on a classified missile program. These issues have created overhangs for the company, but JPMorgan anticipates the potential for these concerns to ease, which has contributed to the upgraded rating and increased price target for Lockheed Martin's shares.

InvestingPro Insights

Lockheed Martin's management strategy and historical performance offer a nuanced perspective for investors. The company's aggressive share buyback activity, as noted in an InvestingPro Tip, signals a strong commitment to shareholder value. Additionally, Lockheed Martin has a notable track record of raising its dividend for 21 consecutive years, a testament to its financial resilience and investor-friendly policies.

From a valuation standpoint, Lockheed Martin is currently trading at a P/E ratio of 16.31, which is considered low relative to its near-term earnings growth. This is complemented by a PEG ratio of 0.58 for the last twelve months as of Q4 2023, suggesting that the stock may be undervalued when factoring in its growth rate. Despite some concerns over its gross profit margins, which stand at 12.68%, the company remains a prominent player in the Aerospace & Defense industry.

Investors may also find comfort in the stability of Lockheed Martin's stock, which generally trades with low price volatility. For those seeking income-generating investments, the company's consistent dividend payments over the past 41 years, combined with a current dividend yield of 2.79%, could be attractive. For more detailed analysis and additional InvestingPro Tips, consider using the coupon code PRONEWS24 to get an additional 10% off a yearly or biyearly Pro and Pro+ subscription at InvestingPro. With 11 more tips available, investors can gain deeper insights into Lockheed Martin's financial health and market position.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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