R.J. Reynolds

(RJR)

beat analysts' first-quarter expectations by a penny, as higher interest income and share repurchase programs helped offset the fact that the company's tobacco shipment volume fell 6.6% from the same period last year.

The company posted income of $100 million, or 98 cents a share, for the latest first quarter, up from earnings of $79 million, or 76 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. According to

Thomson Financial/First Call

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, analysts expected the company to earn 97 cents. Sales rose 2% to $1.95 billion from $1.90 billion.

For the second quarter ending June 30, Reynolds expects tobacco shipment volume to decline 3% to 5%. The company projected net income of $122 million to $128 million, or $1.20 to $1.26 a share. For the year ending Dec. 31, Reynolds forecast that shipment volume will fall 3% to 5%, while earnings will come in between $440 million and $460 million, or $4.50 to $4.70 a share.

Analysts expect the company to earn $1.22 for the second quarter and $4.64 for the year.

Shares of R.J. Reynolds lost $1.56, or 2.8%, to $54.36 in recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading.