A falling dollar helped boost
first-quarter earnings, which benefited from strong overseas sales that materialized despite all the geopolitical tensions.
The St. Paul, Minn.-based manufacturer said it earned $502 million, or $1.27 a share, in the latest quarter, up from $452 million, or $1.14 a share, last year. Before items the company earned $1.42 a share in the latest period, about 2 cents better than analysts had forecast. Sales rose 11% to $4.32 billion.
Among regions, U.S. sales totaled $1.80 billion, up 1% on a 1.4% increase in volume. Selling prices declined 0.4%. Sales outside the U.S. totaled $2.518 billion, with the dollar's decline responsible for 10.4% of the year-over-year improvement. International volume increased 8.7%.
For the full year, the company expects earnings of $5.65 to $5.85 a share, and earnings excluding special items of $5.80 and $6 a share. Second-quarter earnings are expected to be in the range of $1.47 to $1.53 a share. Analysts were predicting earnings before items of $5.93 a share for the year and $1.50 a share in the second quarter.
The stock, which took a $4 hit last Wednesday on an analyst downgrade, last traded at $129.98.