Is FedEx's good news a sign the economy has turned?

FedEx Corp. (FDX), which in the last eight months has laid off workers and raised rates, boosted its guidance Tuesday for its fiscal second quarter profit. The move underscores a growing optimism that the economy is improving, albeit at a painfully slow pace.

The Memphis-based shipper expects to report earnings of $1.10 per share for the second quarter ended November 30, down 30% from $1.58 per share a year ago. The company's previous guidance for the quarter was 65 cents to 95 cents per share. FedEx's results surpassed the 86-cent average of analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Final earnings are scheduled to be issued December 17.