MIDLAND, Mich. (
expressed cautiously upbeat sentiment about its upcoming quarters after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.
Dow Chemical said it is seeing strengthening consumer spending in areas such as electronics, appliances and automotive and strong growth in emerging geographies. Those factors, coupled with the company's global operating rates which are returning to levels not seen since the second quarter of 2008, point increasingly to a sustainable upturn, Dow said.
However, Dow cautions that some challenges remain in areas such as residential and commercial construction in developed economies, inflation concerns in high-growth emerging countries, and sovereign debt issues in southern Europe.
Dow reported first-quarter net income of $551 million or 41 cents a share, up from $24 million, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-off items, the company reported earnings of 43 cents a share vs. 11 cents a share the year before, blowing past the Wall Street average estimate of 30 cents a share.
Sales rose 48% to $13.417 billion. On a pro forma basis, sales were up 33% to $13.39 billion and above the consensus target of $12.93 billion, and up in all geographic areas, with a 27% improvement in North America, as well as a 35% improvement in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
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