Updated from 12:43 p.m. EDT
reported a 7% increase in its second-quarter earnings Wednesday, exceeding Wall Street's estimates. The chemical company also reiterated that it would meet profit expectations for the year, although high energy and raw material costs would weigh on its results.
For the second quarter ended June 30, DuPont's earnings excluding several one-time items, totaled $949 million, or 90 cents a diluted share, up from $886 million, or 84 cents a diluted share a year earlier. A consensus of analysts polled by
First Call/Thomson Financial
predicted earnings of 88 cents a share in the latest quarter for the Wilmington, Del.-based company.
DuPont said high prices of crude oil and natural gas, two key raw materials for the company, would push profits for the second half of the year down by 20 to 25 cents a share compared with a year ago. But DuPont restated its prediction that it would meet its 17% to 20% target for earnings growth this year. Wall Street expects the company to earn $2.99 for the year, according to First Call//Thomson Financial.
Shares of DuPont closed up 1 5/16, or 3%, to 44 15/16.
Paul T. Leming, an analyst for
, said DuPont's raw materials costs were not a major concern for investors, since the company reiterated that it would meet its target for the year.
"You worry about how much the U.S. economy is going to slow down, oil prices -- yes, those concerns are out there," Leming said. "But right now I'm saying they're going to be able to manage them. I don't think those issues will prevent them from meeting their earnings target for the year."
While raw materials costs are "an overwhelming issue," Leming said DuPont is counteracting the problem in a number of ways, including positive volume growth, cost-savings and increased prices in certain strong aspects of its business. He added DuPont's announcement Wednesday that it would increase its share-repurchasing program to $2.5 billion was also good news for investors.
Leming rates DuPont a hold, because he considers it "fairly valued" at $45 a share. ING Barings has done no underwriting for the company.
Sales, which increased 13% from a year ago to $7.9 billion, helped DuPont overcome high raw material prices in the second quarter. The company also said it is benefiting from its implementation of Six Sigma, a business strategy program used by companies to improve their bottom line.
"Most of our businesses performed exceptionally well in spite of higher raw material costs and weak European currencies, with 11 of 18 strategic business units delivering double-digit earnings growth," Charles O. Holliday Jr., chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. "While slowing is now evident in some sectors of the U.S. economy, most of our global markets remain robust."