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Whole Foods Spikes on Improved View

Whole Foods Market saw its shares rise on Wednesday after reporting an increase of 79% in first-quarter profit and raising its earnings guidance for the year.

AUSTIN, Texas (

TheStreet

) --

Whole Foods Market

(WFMI)

is spiking on Wednesday a day after reporting an increase of 79% in first-quarter profit and raising its earnings guidance for the year.

The stock is gaining 9%, exchanging hands at $33.23 in morning trading.

Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain, said first-quarter sales rose 7% to $2.6 billion, while same-store sales increased 3.5%.

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First-quarter earnings were $49.7 million, or 32 cents a share, higher than a year earlier and above analyst expectations.

"Our first-quarter results exceeded our own expectations on both the top and bottom line. Given the strong sales momentum we are seeing, there are many reasons to be bullish about our future results. It is relatively early in our recovery, however, and there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding where the economy, the consumer, and competition go from here," said John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO, in a statement.

Whole Foods raised its earnings outlook for the year to $1.20 to $1.25 a share, up from its previous estimate of $1.05 to $1.10. Analysts estimated the company would earn $1.10 for the year.

As a result, Barclays raised its price target on the stock to $30 from $20, while J.P. Morgan upgraded the company to overweight from neutral.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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