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Outlook Lifts LabCorp

A solid forecast boosts its shares.


(LH) - Get Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings Report

shares rose Thursday after the company posted a 20.2% year-over-year increase in first-quarter earnings and said it should top analysts' full-year estimates.

Net sales for the quarter were $998.7 million, up 13.7% from the same period in 2006.

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Earnings rose to $122.5 million, or 98 cents a share, from $101.9 million and 76 cents a share a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had estimated 93 cents a share for the most recent quarter.

Looking ahead, LabCorp expects full-year net sales growth of 12% to 14% and earnings between $4.11 and $4.27 a share. Wall Street's consensus target is $3.97.

Following the report, shares of the Burlington, N.C., lab-services company rose $6.47, or 8.9%, to $78.95.