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Orbital Falls 4% After Sales Forecast Cut: Washington Mover

Orbital Falls After Cutting Revenue Forecast: Washington Mover
Orbital Sciences Corp. plans to launch its Antares rocket, designed to carry cargo to the space station, for the first time before the end of the year. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg

Orbital Sciences Corp. fell the most in more than four months after the maker of rockets and satellites lowered its revenue forecast for the year and reported delays in a program to resupply the International Space Station.

Orbital, based in Dulles, Virginia, slid 4 percent to close at $13.58 in New York for the biggest decline since June 1. The shares are down 6.5 percent this year.

“Investors are getting somewhat fatigued on this,” Michael Ciarmoli, an analyst with Cleveland-based KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., said in a telephone interview. “We’ve been waiting and waiting. I think if we get the rocket to fly in December, that’ll give a lift to the stock.”

Orbital plans to launch its Antares rocket, designed to carry cargo to the space station, for the first time before the end of the year. The company has a $1.9 billion contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for eight resupply flights scheduled to start in the second half of 2013.

A separate test flight to the station has been pushed back to the first or second quarter of 2013 from this year, Ciarmoli said. He has a buy rating on the company.

Orbital yesterday lowered its 2012 revenue forecast to $1.43 billion to $1.45 billion, from $1.43 billion to $1.48 billion, even as record sales helped third-quarter profit exceed analyst estimates.

Net income rose to $19.5 million, or 33 cents a share, from $16.5 million, or 28 cents, a year earlier. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 25 cents a share. Sales advanced 9 percent to $373 million from $342 million a year earlier.

The results “set new records for revenues and operating income for a second consecutive quarter,” Chief Executive Officer David Thompson said in a statement. “This quarter’s financial results reflected strong growth in revenues, particularly for the launch vehicles segment.”

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