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Lockheed Martin and United Technologies Cut Layoff Plans

Paul Ausick

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the world’s largest defense contractor, had said on Friday that it would furlough some 3,000 employees as a result of the federal government shutdown. By Monday morning, the company had cut that number back to 2,400.

Another defense contractor, United Technologies Corp. (UTX), cancelled its announced plan to furlough 2,000 employees due to the government shutdown.

The change was due to a decision by the U.S. Department of Defense over the weekend to begin calling back to work most of its own civilian staff. The Pentagon expects to recall more than 90% of the 350,000 civilian staff it placed on furlough last week.

Although no other defense or aerospace contractors had announced any layoffs or furloughs due to the government shutdown, the Aerospace Industries Association said last Friday that "tens of thousands" of employees at member companies would have to be furloughed if the shutdown continued. The group includes defense firms Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), Raytheon Co. (RTN) and General Dynamics Corp. (GD) among its membership. None of these firms had announced plans to idle workers.

Lockheed's shares were up about 0.7% at $123.35 shortly after opening Monday morning. The stock's 52-week range is $85.88 to $131.60. When Lockheed announced its second-quarter earnings, it also raised its outlook for both revenues and earnings for the full year. The stock trades at about 12.7 times forward earnings.

Shares of United Technologies were down about 0.6% Monday morning, at $103.66 in a 52-week range of $74.44 to $112.46. Shares trade at about 15 times forward earnings.