UPS Offers Rosy Early Peek at Profits

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An increase in international shipping business helped drive UPS (UPS) profits 37% higher on an earnings per share basis during the first quarter of this year. An increase in international shipping business helped drive UPS (UPS) profits 37% higher on an earnings per share basis during the first quarter of this year.

The increase, announced in an earnings preview Wednesday, showed adjusted first quarter earnings totaled $0.71 per diluted share compared to an adjusted $0.52 in the prior-year quarter. On a reported basis, diluted earnings per share were $0.53 compared to $0.40 for the prior-year period, an improvement of 33%.

"We expected the first quarter to be the most challenging of 2010 as the economic recovery gathered steam through the year," said Kurt Kuehn, UPS's chief financial officer, in a statement. "As it turned out, revenue was stronger than we expected due to international volume gains."

Total revenue for the period grew 7%, driven by increases of 18% in its international package unit and 14% in its supply chain and freight division. International daily volumes grew significantly with export up more than 9% and non-U.S. domestic up over 24%. U.S. Domestic daily volume increased less than 1%, the first year-over-year growth in more than two years.

The company will provide additional details of its performance during its first quarter earnings call on April 27.

The strong results and an improved full-year outlook sent UPS shares nearly 5% higher in premarket trading Thursday.
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