Updated from 9:42 a.m. EDT

Reliance Steel and Aluminum ( RS) rode the rally in metals prices to record sales in the first quarter, as the company hammered analysts' earnings expectations.

The Los Angeles-based company's profit increased more than fivefold to $29.8 million, or 92 cents a share, vs. $5.6 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose about 45% to $655.8 million from $450.8 million in 2003.

All three performance measures far exceeded the consensus estimates for net income of $26.2 million, or 81 cents a share, and sales of $577.5 million, according to Thomson First Call

"Metals pricing and business activity were increasing significantly during the first quarter," the company said in something of an understatement. "Metals pricing for the majority of our products continues to rise, and supply levels and availability remain tight."

The company said its best estimate for second-quarter EPS is 85 cents to 95 cents a share, vs. a consensus estimate of 73 cents a share.

Reliance shares added $1.41, or 4.2%, to $34.96, a new 52-week high.

As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see Corrections and Clarifications.

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