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Barron's AeroVironment Stock Is Surging. Here’s What’s Driving It Higher.

AeroVironment stock was soaring Tuesday after the defense supplier topped quarterly estimates and boosted guidance.

Shares of AeroVironment, which makes technology for unmanned aircraft, missiles, and ground vehicles, rose 18% to $153.57 in premarket trading Tuesday, while S&P 500 futures were off 0.4%.

For the fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 27, the company reported adjusted earnings per share of 63 cents, beating Wall Street’s call for 33 cents, according to FactSet. Revenue of $186.6 million topped consensus of $170.6 million.

Funded backlog, which the company defines as “remaining performance obligations under firm orders for which funding is currently appropriated to us under a customer contract,” was $462.8 million as of Jan. 27, compared with $487 million as of Oct. 28, 2023.

“With the increased global demand for our solutions, strong backlog, and growing pipeline, AeroVironment remains well positioned for continued growth,” CEO Wahid Nawabi said in a press release.

The company raised guidance for fiscal 2024. It now expects revenue of $700 million to $710 million, up from a prior call for $685 million to $705 million, and adjusted earnings per share of $2.69 to $2.83, up from an earlier range of $2.46 to $2.70. Analysts had been expecting revenue of $700.8 million and earnings of $2.73 a share.

“We continue to anticipate double-digit revenue growth in fiscal year 2025,” Nawabi added.

Newsletter Sign-up William Blair analyst Louie DiPalma was upbeat about the quarterly report. He wasn’t worried about the backlog decline. “Given the elevated geopolitical climate and AeroVironment’s success thus far in Ukraine, we believe a large number of prospects in the pipeline funnel will convert to bookings,” he wrote Tuesday.

AeroVironment supplied Ukraine, via the U.S. government, with Switchblade drones that function a little like smart artillery. They can be carried in a backpack and fired from almost anywhere.

DiPalma rates AeroVironment stock at Buy without a price target. A Buy rating for Blair means the analyst expects shares to outperform the market.