said fourth-quarter earnings rose 21% from a year ago, topping estimates on an 8% rise in worldwide volume.
UPS earned $1.05 billion, or 95 cents a share, in the quarter, reduced 2 cents a share by a tax-related item. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 96 cents a share prior to the expense. A year ago, UPS earned $866 million, or 76 cents a share.
Sales rose 21.5% from last year to $11.95 billion, beating the consensus estimate compiled by Thomson First Call by about $370 million. Domestic package revenue rose 8.9% to $7.8 billion while international packages rose 18% to $2.2 billion.
Global volume rose 7.9% in the fourth quarter to 16.8 million packages per day, about 1.2 million daily packages more than in the year-ago quarter. U.S. volume rose 6.2%, paced by an 8.5% increase in deferred air volume coupled with a 6.3% increase in Next Day Air packages.
Fourth-quarter revenue from supply chain and freight segments jumped 146% to $1.91 billion, reflecting the acquisitions of Menlo Worldwide Forwarding and Overnite.
The company expects to earn 85 cents to 89 cents a share in the first quarter. Analysts were forecasting 87 cents a share. For 2006, it sees earnings of roughly $3.85 to $4.03 a share. Analysts were forecasting $3.92.
The stock, down 9% since the start of 2005 and up 8% since the start of 2004, fell 6 cents to $76.70 early Thursday.