A solid financial outlook for the rest of the year was helping lift shares of Ocular Sciences ( OCLR) 19% a day after the contact-lens maker reported earnings for the first quarter.

The stock was lately gaining $2.90 to $18.15 on more than three times normal volume.

After the close Thursday, Ocular said first-quarter revenue rose 16% from last year to $70.7 million. Net income totaled $5.9 million, or 25 cents a share, and included manufacturing consolidation expenses of $955,000, or 4 cents a share. A year ago, the company recorded revenue of $60.8 million and net income of $10.1 million, or 41 cents a share.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 24 cents in the latest quarter.

The Concord, Calif., company attributed the first-quarter sales increase to growth in international markets. Total U.S. sales were down 3% from the first quarter of 2002. Ocular maintained its previous forecasts for the full year, saying it expects total sales to rise 3% to 7% over the top line of $267 million for 2002. That would imply sales of $275 million to around $285 million for the year.

Excluding restructuring charges, the company expects to earn $1.40 to $1.50 a share this year. Restructuring and related charges should come in around 36 cents a share. Including the charges, Ocular expects to earn $1.04 to $1.14 a share.

Wall Street is looking for a profit of $1.40 and sales of $275.2 million for 2003.

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