Whirlpool Jumps on Guidance - TheStreet

Whirlpool Jumps on Guidance

The appliance maker still expects to beat consensus for 2003 earnings.
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jumped Tuesday, after the company reaffirmed full-year 2003 guidance, offered its outlook on 2004 and raised its quarterly dividend.

The company said it still expects to hit the lower end of its previously announced range of $5.90 to $6.10 a share for full-year 2003 earnings. That compares with a consensus estimate of $5.84 a share, according to Thomson First Call.

For 2004, Whirlpool forecast full-year earnings in the range of $6.20 to $6.35 a share, vs. a consensus forecast of $6.14 a share.

The home appliance maker had a profit of $105 million, or $1.48 a share, on sales of $3.11 billion in its fiscal third quarter, up almost 13% from a year ago.

The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company also raised its quarterly dividend 26%, from 34 cents a share to 43 cents a share, effective the first quarter of 2004. The dividend will be paid on March 15 to shareholders of record as of Feb, 27, 2004.

Whirlpool said is outlook is based "on stabilizing economic and industry conditions in Brazil and positive growth forecasts for the company's other key global markets." The company also said it expected "significant ongoing productivity cost savings."

Shares were up $2.45, or 3.4%, to $69.76.