Hot Cycle for Whirlpool

Shares jump as overseas growth offsets soft stateside performance.
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Whirlpool (WHR) - Get Report surged 8% after beating first-quarter earnings targets thanks to strong sales overseas.

The Benton Harbor, Mich., washing-machine maker earned $124 million, or $1.55 a share, from continuing operations for the quarter ended March 31. That compares with a profit of $118 million, or $1.70 a share, a year ago. Sales rose 24% from a year ago to $4.4 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a $1.12-a-share profit on sales of $4.11 billion.

Excluding the impact from the Maytag acquisition and currency translations, net sales rose 2%.

"As expected, higher material costs and significantly lower demand in the U.S. negatively impacted our first-quarter results," CEO Jeff Fettig said. "The global environment is progressing as planned and we continue to expect lower industry demand in the U.S. through the first half of 2007 with gradual improvement during the balance of the year. The Maytag integration has gone extremely well and we are benefiting from the ramp-up of efficiencies. Our efforts to revitalize growth for the Maytag brand are well under way."

Whirlpool reaffirmed its full-year earnings target of $8 to $8.50 a share.

Shares rose $7.36 to $97.71.