Lockheed Martin Corp reported a higher quarterly profit, as it had a gain from a business sale, and forecast 2011 earnings above current Wall Street estimates.

The world's biggest defense contractor on Thursday said net income was $983 million, or $2.73 a share in the fourth quarter, up from $827 million, or $2.17 a share, a year earlier.

Results for the latest period included items such as a gain of 51 cents a share from the sale of Enterprise Integration Group business, a tax benefit of 3 cents a share and a charge of 8 cents per share tied to a facilities consolidation.

Earnings from continuing operations came to $2.30 a share. Analysts expected $2.11 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quarterly sales rose about 5 percent to $12.79 billion, compared with $12.47 billion expected by analysts.

Lockheed forecast per-share profit from continuing operations of $6.70 to $7.00 for this year, down from $7.18 a share reported for 2010. Analysts expect profit of $6.67 for 2011.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)