Aerospace companies are likely to post mixed quarterly results as weak airline traffic, pressure on aircraft orders and the latest delay of Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner weigh on parts suppliers.
Many defense contractors are expected to post solid results for the latest quarter, as they benefit from still-strong U.S. military spending.
In the current recession, many analysts are not expecting as many boosts to outlooks that have been made in recent years by aerospace and defense companies during this reporting period.
Tom Captain, who heads aerospace and defense analysis for Deloitte LLP, said financial results could show a continued moderation in the rate of earnings and revenue growth that was evident in the first quarter.
The way I'd summarize it is that flat is the new up, Captain told Reuters.
If you're maintaining your level of sales, if you're maintaining your level of profitability and margins, that's good news, Captain added. It could be a lot worse; look at the other businesses that are hit really hard in the recession.
Paul Nisbet, an analyst with JSA Research in Sarasota, Florida, said he isn't expecting much growth from commercial aerospace suppliers in light of airline capacity cuts, weak business jet deliveries and the further delayed 787. Boeing last month cited a structural flaw in announcing the latest delay of the Dreamliner's first flight.
It won't be a spectacular quarter but it won't be a bad quarter, Nisbet said.
AMR Corp , parent of American Airlines, will kick off airline earnings on Wednesday, when it is expected to post a second-quarter loss.
MORE CAPACITY CUTS
Morningstar analyst Basili Alukos said air carriers could signal that revenue declines may be bottoming, a good sign. But at the same time, he's expecting more cutbacks with the quarterly reports.
You're going to see tremendous pressure on yields and I think they are going to talk about cutting capacity, Alukos said. Financial positions are going to be of huge concern.
Weak equipment-service revenues could lead some aerospace suppliers to reduce earnings forecasts. The slump in commercial aerospace led Rockwell Collins Inc and Goodrich Corp to cut full-year forecasts in April.
UBS Investment Research analyst David Strauss said in a recent note that Spirit AeroSystems Holdings could lower its outlook because of a slower ramp-up in 787 production after the plane's flight delay.
Precision Castparts Corp and Triumph Group Inc could also feel pressure tied to the Boeing 787, he added.
These companies and others now have a much more tangible hole in late 2009 and into 2010, which we don't expect them to be able to fill, Strauss wrote.
Boeing itself is due to post second-quarter earnings on July 22. Many analysts expect a cut to the plane maker's full-year profit forecast.
Among other aerospace companies, Goodrich and Rockwell Collins are expected to report lower profits for their latest quarters, and L-3 Communications Holdings could post higher earnings, according to Reuters Estimates.
Defense contractors General Dynamics , Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp could raise outlooks, based on cost-cutting, share repurchases and strong sales, analysts noted.
There's still quite a bit of momentum from the monies that were appropriated during the Bush years that will benefit defense companies, Nisbet said.
But Nisbet added things will become tougher for defense contractors after 2010, when he expects weapons-programs cuts sought by the Obama administration to start kicking in.
(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)