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(Forward-looking guidance and stock price added.)



) --

Family Dollar Stores


reported a 13% uptick in fourth quarter earnings, surpassing Wall Street's outlook -- and it's expecting more growth in the first quarter.

During the quarter, the company earned $60.1 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with $53.2 million, or 38 cents in the year-ago period. Analysts expected a profit of 41 cents a share.

Sales rose 2.6% to about $1.81 billion, while same-store sales inched up 1%.

October Correction

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On Tuesday,

Family Dollar was upgraded

TheStreet Recommends

by BMO Capital Markets to outperform from market perform. Analyst Wayne Hood said the stock has lost 14% of its value since early July and is the cheapest it has been in years.

Looking ahead, the discounter expects to earn between 45 cents and 50 cents per share in the first quarter, up from 42 cents last year. Family Dollar also foresees sales growth between 5% and 7%.

For the full-year period, Family Dollar forecasts earnings in the range of $2.15 and $2.35 a share, in-line with analysts' outlook.

Shares of the company jumped 2.7% to $29.25 in early trading.

Costco Wholesale

(COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report

also posted better-than-expected earnings Wednesday morning, despite a 6% slip in profit.

The warehouse club operator earned $374 million, or 85 cents per share, compared with $398 million, or 90 cents, a year earlier. This still beat the 77 cents a share analysts had expected.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York

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