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An unexpectedly strong third quarter at

Campbell Soup


lifted the food maker's shares Monday.

Campbell earned $146 million, or 35 cents a share, in the quarter ended May 1, up about 3% from earnings of $142 million, or 34 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose 4% from a year ago to $1.74 billion in the quarter. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 33 cents a share on sales of $1.76 billion.

The company repeated guidance for the current fiscal year, saying it expects earnings growth of 5% to 7% over 2004's $1.58 a share before items, or about $1.66 to $1.69 a share. Analysts are forecasting $1.68 a share.

Campbell's stock was recently up $1.36, or 4.5%, to $31.70.

The latest quarter was bolstered by international sales of soup and sauce, which rose 6% from a year ago to $435 million, and domestic snack sales, which rose 8% from a year ago to $421 million. Domestic soup and sauce sales fell 2% to $627 million.