Shipping giant UPS is optimistic about the economic recovery it is seeing in countries where it does business around the world.
The company made the comments as it formally reported Tuesday a nearly 33 percent rise in first-quarter profit to $533 million, or 53 cents a share, compared to a profit of $401 million, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier.
UPS, based in Atlanta, pre-released earnings results on April 14.
Adjusted first-quarter earnings, which exclude one-time items, totaled 71 cents per share. On that basis, analysts had expected earnings of 58 cents a share.
Revenue increased 7.2 percent to $11.73 billion from $10.94 billion a year earlier.
Consolidated volume and average revenue per piece each rose 3 percent.
UPS Inc., 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. Its results and those of rival FedEx Corp. are closely watched because the companies are considered good indicators of how the overall economy is doing.
In March, FedEx, based in Memphis, Tenn., reported that its fiscal third-quarter profit more than doubled. That was FedEx's first year-over-year profit increase in five quarters.
FedEx also raised its earnings forecast for its fiscal year ending in May.
On Tuesday, UPS reiterated that it 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 expected adjusted full-year earnings of $2.95 a share, prior to UPS' pre-announcement two weeks ago.
The revenue jump in the first quarter was driven by strength in UPS' international package and supply chain and freight segments. Supply chain involves logistics services that UPS provides companies that need to deliver things.
U.S. domestic daily volume increased less than 1 percent, but that marks the first year-over-year growth in more than two years, UPS said.
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