Whirlpool Corp. (WHR - Get Report) shares traded higher Tuesday after the appliance maker topped analysts' forecasts in its first quarter earnings report while confirming its full-year profit outlook as price hikes and lower U.S. input costs boosted it bottom line.
Whirpool said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March came in at $3.11 per share, up 10.7% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the consensus estimate of $2.86 per share. Group revenues slipped 3.1% to $4.76 billion, the company said, and missed the Street forecast of $4.83 billion, but that was offset by a 90 basis point improvement in its EBIT margin and the reiteration of its full-year earnings forecast of between $14 and $15 per share.
"We delivered another strong quarter with margin expansion and record first-quarter earnings per share despite a soft demand environment in several countries," said CEO Marc Bitzer. "Successful execution 2 of price increases and sustained focus on cost discipline drove very positive results in the first quarter, and provide confidence in our ability to deliver our full-year financial goals."
Whirpool shares were marked 3% Tuesday at $143.52 each, the highest in nearly nine months a move that would take the stock's year-to-date gain to around $36% and value the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based group at around $9.2 billion.
"In our view, results were consistent with its strategy of focusing on US price to drive profitability though they reflect a slower global macro environment as oper margins were below expectations in Lat Am and Asia and continued to trend negative in EMEA," said Credit Suisse analyst Susan Maklari. "Lower input costs -- notably US steel -- were also a considerable positive to results."