Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “The recent temporay grounding of 15 F-35A aircrafts of Lockheed Martin might have hampered the reputaton of this top-rated defense prime ; as is evident from the 1.8% fall witnessedin currrent quarter estimates provided by analysts for the company,  in trailing 30 days. Moreover, the threat of sequestration still lurks over this defense major, as it draws a major portion of its revenues from the defense department. The weak backlog also remains a major concern. On a bright note, company's solid outlook, impressive revenue growth, and potential share buybacks are positives. Steady flow of contracts from the Pentagon reveals its inherent strength. Its growing international mix and new positive defense budget revisions will likely act as a major tailwind.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co. upgraded shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and increased their target price for the stock from $199.01 to $277.50 in a research report on Monday. Citigroup Inc. reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $284.00 target price (up previously from $239.00) on shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. in a research report on Tuesday, September 6th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. in a research report on Tuesday, August 30th. Vetr upgraded shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $275.75 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, August 29th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. began coverage on shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $284.00 target price for the company. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $257.32.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) traded up 0.2697% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $241.1285. 348,796 shares of the company were exchanged. The stock has a market cap of $73.04 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.0790 and a beta of 0.58. Lockheed Martin Corp. has a 12-month low of $199.01 and a 12-month high of $266.93. The company has a 50 day moving average of $249.24 and a 200 day moving average of $239.78.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 19th. The company reported $3.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.93 by $0.39. Lockheed Martin Corp. had a net margin of 7.37% and a return on equity of 119.66%. The company earned $12.90 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $12.56 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $2.94 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Lockheed Martin Corp. will post $11.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 23rd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 1st will be issued a dividend of $1.65 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, August 30th. This represents a $6.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.74%. Lockheed Martin Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 56.51%.

In other Lockheed Martin Corp. news, insider Sondra L. Barbour sold 66,460 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $255.74, for a total transaction of $16,996,480.40. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 31,200 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,979,088. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Orlando D. Carvalho sold 12,700 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $254.78, for a total transaction of $3,235,706.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 29,120 shares in the company, valued at $7,419,193.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.42% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Keeley Asset Management Corp increased its stake in shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. by 0.3% in the second quarter. Keeley Asset Management Corp now owns 966 shares of the company’s stock valued at $240,000 after buying an additional 3 shares during the period. Paragon Capital Management Ltd increased its stake in Lockheed Martin Corp. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Paragon Capital Management Ltd now owns 1,053 shares of the company’s stock worth $261,000 after buying an additional 4 shares during the period. Glassman Wealth Services increased its stake in Lockheed Martin Corp. by 0.5% in the second quarter. Glassman Wealth Services now owns 838 shares of the company’s stock worth $208,000 after buying an additional 4 shares during the period. Burns J W & Co. Inc. NY increased its stake in Lockheed Martin Corp. by 0.4% in the second quarter. Burns J W & Co. Inc. NY now owns 1,388 shares of the company’s stock worth $344,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. Finally, MCF Advisors LLC increased its stake in Lockheed Martin Corp. by 0.6% in the first quarter. MCF Advisors LLC now owns 1,130 shares of the company’s stock worth $250,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.20% of the company’s stock.

About Lockheed Martin Corp.

Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company. The Company is engaged in the research, design, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. It operates in five segments: Aeronautics; Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS); Missiles and Fire Control (MFC); Mission Systems and Training (MST), and Space Systems.

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