Breakfast cereal maker

General Mills

(GIS) - Get Report

raised its second-quarter earnings outlook Monday and said that it is currently on track to meet its full-year financial targets.

The Minneapolis-based company said it now expects to post a second-quarter profit of 74 cents to 75 cents a share, excluding unusual items. Prior guidance called for earnings to come in between 71 cents and 75 cents a share.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn 71 cents a share, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.

"Our brand-building efforts renewed unit volume growth for our U.S. retail businesses in the first quarter of 2003, and that growth is continuing in the current period," the company said in a press release. "We are executing well across our organization, from sales to information systems and the supply chain."

General Mills, which makes Cheerios and Wheaties, also reaffirmed guidance for fiscal 2003, saying it expects to earn about $2.60 per share before unusual items, up from the $1.70 per share it earned in fiscal 2002.

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The company modestly reduced its estimated fiscal 2003 effective tax rate, to 35% from 35.5%.

The shares were recently trading up 46 cents, or 1.1% to $42.31 on the

New York Stock Exchange.