In a good sign for the U.S. economy, shipping giant UPS said Wednesday it is firing on all cylinders and posted a 33 percent increase in first-quarter earnings per share.
It cited strong growth in the amount of packages it ships overseas, the logistics services it provides and even improved volumes at home.
The company, based in Atlanta, also raised its guidance, saying it expects full-year 2010 earnings per share to climb 32 percent to 43 percent.
UPS said the results for the January-March quarter were spurred by strong performance in its international package and supply-chain businesses. Revenue increased 7 percent.
The results were announced nearly two weeks ahead of the company's scheduled earnings release date.
UPS now expects full-year adjusted earnings per share to range from $3.05 to $3.30, up from the $2.70 to $3.05 it projected in February. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had been expecting adjusted full-year earnings of $2.95 a share.
The company's shares jumped more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.
Net income per share rose to 53 cents in the first quarter, compared to 40 cents a share in the same period a year earlier.
Adjusted first-quarter earnings, which exclude one-time items, totaled 71 cents per share. Analysts, who generally exclude one-time items from their estimates, were expecting first-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share.
UPS said further details, including comparable dollar figures, would be released April 27, when the company was initially planning to release its first-quarter results.
The revenue jump was driven by increases of 18 percent in international package and 14 percent in supply chain and freight. Supply chain involves logistics services that UPS provides companies that need to deliver items.
Also in the quarter, international daily volumes grew significantly with export up more than 9 percent and non-U.S. domestic up over 24 percent, UPS said.
At home, there also were good signs. U.S. domestic daily volume increased less than 1 percent, the first year-over-year growth in more than two years, UPS said.
UPS, also known as United Parcel Service, is the world's largest shipping carrier.
Besides delivering small packages, it also carries heavy freight and provides logistics services around the world.
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