LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Defense contractor Northrop Grumman reported lower earnings Monday, missing expectations of Wall Street analysts by 10 cents per share.

The company said the decline was largely due to a decrease in earnings from its pension fund.

The company reported net income of $103 million in the first quarter, or $1.42 per share, compared with $173 million, or $2.47 per share in the same quarter last year.

Grumman reported flat operating earnings, which excludes pension income, amortization of goodwill and other factors. Operating income was $101 million, or $1.39 per share, compared with $101 million, or $1.44 per share the previous year.

The consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call for the first quarter was $1.52 per share.

On Monday, Grumman shares fell $4.32, or almost 5 percent, to close at $88.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The first quarter report did not include results from Litton Industries, which Grumman acquired earlier this year.

Grumman said sales for the first quarter increased 10 percent to nearly $2 billion from $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2000.

Income from its pension fund was $69 million in the quarter, down sharply from the $140 million it earned the same quarter last year.

Also Monday, Grumman announced it will acquire the electronics division of Aerojet-General Corp. for $315 million in cash. Aerojet-General is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sacramento, Calif.-based GenCorp Inc.

The unit had 2000 revenues of $323 million. It specializes in satellite-based early warning systems and ground systems that process data from satellites.

The move is seen as a play by Grumman to become a major player in the National Missile Defense System, an early warning system backed by the Bush administration.