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Defense Firms Weathering Budget Cuts More Easily than Expected

Big defense contractors are weathering the federal budget sequester far more easily than they projected, in part because they have gradually eliminated jobs over the past few years in anticipation of spending cuts.

Bethesda-based Lockheed Mar­tin, the world’s largest defense contractor, reported Tuesday that its profit rose 10 percent, to $859 million, during the second quarter even as revenue dipped slightly. Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, two other large contractors, are scheduled to report results Wednesday.

“Lockheed’s setting the tone,” said William Loomis, a defense industry analyst for the financial services firm Stifel Nicolaus.

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