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Kellogg Boosts Guidance

First-quarter profits jump 17%.
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, crediting product innovation and brand building, posted a 17% rise in first-quarter earnings and boosted its profit outlook for the full year.

The Battle Creek, Mich., food company's earnings climbed to $321 million, or 80 cents a share, from $274 million, or 68 cents a share, a year earlier. The results included a tax benefit of $40 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 68 cents a share, though it's not clear if that estimate included the tax gain.

Sales rose 9% to $2.96 billion from $2.73 billion, topping Wall Street's projection of $2.85 billion. Excluding the effect of foreign-currency translation, sales increased 7%.

In North America, the maker of Kellogg's cereal, Eggo waffles and Cheez-It crackers saw sales rise 7%. The growth was bolstered by an 11% jump in the company's cookies, crackers and snacks business. Kellogg's retail cereal division saw sales growth of 4%.

For the full year, Kellogg now expects earnings of $2.70 to $2.74 a share, up slightly from its prior forecast of $2.68 to $2.73. Analysts, on average, target a profit of $2.75 a share.