NEW YORK (
) -- Shares of
Whole Foods Markets
gained in extended trades on Wednesday after the specialty grocer topped Wall Street's earnings estimate for its fiscal second quarter.
The Austin, Texas-based company posted an adjusted profit of $89.9 million, or 51 cents a share, for the three months ended in March, on sales of $2.35 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by
was for earnings of 46 cents a share in the March quarter.
The stock was last quoted at $62.98, up 5.4%, on volume of 1.45 million, according to
. Based on a regular session close at $59.74, the shares were already up more than 45% in the past year.
Whole Foods also lifted its outlook for fiscal 2011, saying it now sees earnings of $1.87 to $1.90 a share, up from a prior forecast for a profit of $1.76 to $1.80 a share. The company boosted its same-stores outlook to growth of 7.9% to 8.9% for the year, and said it sees overall sales growth of 11.7% to 12.6%.
"These are the strongest overall results we have reported in the past five years," said John Mackey, the company's co-founder and CEO, in a press release. "Our solid execution is generating consistent cash flow, and with our long-term debt now fully repaid, we are considering other uses for our growing cash balance, including accelerating our growth, raising our dividend and repurchasing stock."
Wall Street was in wait-and-see mode on Whole Foods ahead of the report with 15 of the 25 analysts covering the company rating the stock at hold.
Other stocks getting a boost in late trades included
, which advanced 9% to $21.85 on volume of more than 2.7 million after the optical networker
posted an strong quarterly profit
(IO - Get Report)
, which fell more than 9% to $9.79 on volume of more than 45,000 after the company reported breakeven results for the first quarter but said one of its businesses is being "significantly impacted" by the turmoil in Libya.
Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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