reaffirmed its "strong business prospects" for 2001 and said it expects to meet its previous earnings target for the year.

The Houston-based energy concern said it still expects 2001 recurring earnings of $1.70 to $1.75 a share, up from $1.47 a share in 2000. Analysts expect the company to earn $1.74 a share.

Enron didn't provide any further guidance in its brief statement, but analysts on average expect first-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, compared with 40 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Shares of Enron finished Wednesday at $55.89 on the

New York Stock Exchange

and have a 52-week range of $55 and $90.75.