Company Lockheed Martin
Operations This company has a hand in everything President Eisenhower ever warned you about the military-industrial complex -- and makes a nice profit doing it.
Recent price $78.56
Market cap $28.3 billion
Trailing P/E Ratio 10.6
Return on Equity, Last 12 Months  67.5%

Last fall, we here at the Fool offered the modest suggestion that when investing for your future, you should think about ... the future. No matter how fun day trading might be, when building a portfolio to fund your retirement, the real goal is to assemble a team of high quality "core stocks" that will stand the test of time. In furtherance of which, I suggested Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) would make for a great first choice.

And I think that still.

Why? Honestly, the thesis hasn't changed much. Just yesterday, Lockheed announced fourth-quarter earnings that showed net profits up an astounding 26% over 2009 levels, and Lockheed has no intention of slowing down. The company booked $20.5 billion in new business in Q4, a sum that will cover nearly six months' worth of revenues if Lockheed does business at its historical rate -- or drive significant revenue growth if orders keep coming at this new pace.

Meanwhile, the single, crucial reason to own Lockheed Martin remains the company's plans to build the plane that U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen tells us will be "the last manned fighter" jet ever to be built -- the F-35 Lighting-II. Pentagon budget hand-wringing notwithstanding, that thesis has never been stronger.

Just days after our "core stock" article ran, Israel announced its desire to buy $1.8 billion worth of F-35s, a number that if the Israelis have their druthers will eventually swell to $15.2 billion worth of F-35 hardware and ancillary services. This week, the clamor for F-35s grew louder still, when the Pentagon acquisitions chief Ashton Carter basically told India that if it anoints an American fighter jet winner of its $10 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition, and writes us a check for a few dozen F-16s or Boeing (NYSE: BA) F-18s today, we'll be more than willing to sit down and discuss the prospect of selling them the more advanced F-35 tomorrow.

The moral of this story? Patience, grasshopper. Don't fret the budget cuts. Lockheed's only getting better with time.

The Fool owns shares of Lockheed Martin, but Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 664 out of more than 160,000 members. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.