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Praxair in Line

The numbers broadly match expectations.
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beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates Wednesday and offered in-line guidance.

The Danbury, Conn., industrial gases company made $220 million, or 67 cents a share, before an accounting change. That's up from $181 million, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $2.02 billion from $1.79 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for a 64-cent profit on sales of $2.03 billion.

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The company guided to a profit of 61 to 65 cents a share for the first quarter, including a 2-cent reduction for stock-based compensation costs. Analysts were looking for 66 cents. For the year, the company expects to make around $2.70 a share, including 8 cents of stock pay costs, where analysts were looking for $2.83.

"We delivered record results in all of our markets through successful implementation of new growth initiatives, while continuing to supply the highest level of service to our customers," CEO Dennis Reilley said.