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Why Aerojet Rocketdyne Stock Just Popped 12%

What happened

Shares of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD) stock are up 12.1% as of 11:35 a.m. EDT on Friday.

Coming on top of a 12.7% rise in Aerojet Rocketdyne stock in July, today's pop is a welcome addition for stockholders. So what contributed to the stock's most recent rise? In a word: earnings.

So what

Last night after close of trading, Aerojet reported its fiscal Q2 2017 earnings -- a bit ahead of schedule. Sales for the quarter came in ahead of expectations at $459.6 million. Profits per share were an astoundingly good $0.32. (Wall Street had been expecting only $0.15). This was more than three times the $0.09 per share that Aerojet had reported in the year-ago quarter.

Cash production was also up, with operating cash flow rising 14% year over year to $40.8 million. This puts Aerojet's cash flow in the black for the first half of the year, and leaves the company with positive free cash flow of $31.6 million for these first six months -- a nice change from the $23.6 million in cash burnt in the same period last year.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

CEO Eileen Drake pronounced herself "thrilled" with the results, highlighting the company's 10% "second quarter organic sales growth" and "solid earnings growth." (Indeed, 356% growth is "solid," without any exaggeration.)

Really, the only negative note struck in Aerojet's entire release was the revelation that the company's backlog declined by $200 million since the start of this year. Still, at $4.3 billion, split roughly 50-50 between funded and unfunded backlog, Aerojet has enough work stacked up in backlog to keep it busy for the next two and a half years, at current run rates.

I'd say the company's future is looking more secure by the day.

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Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.