Shares of Lockheed Martin have jumped nearly 2% so far in today's trading, after Merrill Lynch added the company to its U.S. 1 list. Merrill stated that LMT is a a best-in-class defensive play with superior operating returns and solid aeronautic sales growth. According to the brokerage firm, We forecast top-line Aeronautics growth of 8% in 2009, 16% in 2010, and 13% in 2011.

The news has taken LMT above short-term resistance at the 102 level, which had previously held the shares in check since mid-July. On the sentiment front, the bulls have a firm grasp on the shares, but Wall Street has yet to fully capitulate. According to Zacks, 8 of the 19 analysts following LMT still rate the stock a hold. Any upgrades following today's kind words from Merrill could lend further strength to the security.