Consumers Hit Bottle; Brown-Foreman Profits

Brown-Foreman posts better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.
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Consumers have apparently adopted a wise strategy for dealing with difficult times: they're drinking their worries away.

The maker of Jack Daniel's and Southern Comfort,

Brown-Foreman

, posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday and said it expects modest growth in income this year.

The company earned $79.6 million during the quarter, or 53 cents a share, a 19% decline from a profit of $98.7 million, or 65 cents a share, last year. Analysts had expected earnings of 49 cents.

Sales dropped 12% to $683.3 million, as distributors cut inventory.

Going forward, Brown-Foreman forecasts full-year earnings in the range of $2.60 to $3.00 a share.

Shares in the company spiked by 5%, to $47.67, in early morning trading.

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