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Black & Decker Boosts Earnings View

The company cites stronger-than-expected sales and margins.
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Black & Decker

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put first-quarter earnings well above its earlier projection, crediting strength in both sales and operating margins.

The Towson, Md.-based toolmaker expects to report a profit of $1.60 a share for the period, up from its January forecast of $1.25 to $1.30 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast earnings of $1.26 a share.

Black & Decker said its power tools and accessories segment benefited from a strong international performance, as well as "favorable order patterns" in the U.S.

The company cautioned, however, that it still anticipates a "challenging economic environment," so it only expects to increase its full-year guidance slightly when it reports first-quarter results later this month.

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Black & Decker previously projected earnings of $6.25 to $6.55 a share for 2007.

Late last year, Black & Decker shares were slammed after the company slashed its fourth-quarter guidance, citing weakness in the U.S. amid economic challenges. The company ended up topping its lowered views, though it still said demand was sluggish.

Shares of Black & Decker were jumping $4.91, or 5.9%, to $88.63 in after-hours trading. Rival

Illinois Tool Works

(ITW) - Get Illinois Tool Works Inc. Report

rose 77 cents, or 1.5%, to $53.80.