Black & Decker ( BDK) had a 69% spike in first-quarter profit, excluding items, beating analysts' estimates by a penny. The company cited an improving economy and forecast second-quarter and full-year earnings above Wall Street's estimates. Nevertheless, shares of the Towson, Md.-based company were recently down 41 cents, or 0.7%, at $59.79. The company said it had a profit of $86.6 million, or $1.09 a share, including discontinued operations, compared with $43.4 million, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding the operations, Black & Decker would have earned $74.3 million, or 93 cents a share. On that basis, analysts were expecting 92 cents a share. On April 6, the company had substantially increased its quarterly guidance to a range of 90 cents to 93 cents a share, up from a previous outlook of 65 cents to 70 cents. The company said sales from continuing operations jumped 16% to $1.09 billion. Analysts, however, were expecting about $1.11 billion in sales. Excluding the effects of foreign currency translation and acquisitions, sales increased 5%. Sales in the company's power tools and accessories segment increased 3% for the quarter, while sales in Europe decreased at a high single-digit rate, because of weak economic conditions and higher back orders. Black & Decker issued an update on its restructuring program and the integration of Baldwin and Weiser with its Kwikset security hardware business, saying both are on track to meet or exceed its financial targets. The restructuring program, which began in 2002 and currently in its final phase, generated $20 million of savings in the quarter. The company expects incremental savings of at least $45 million in 2004 and $10 million in 2005. Upon completion of its security hardware integration, the company expects to have $25 million of total annualized savings. In 2004, the plan is expected to require at least $15 million of restructuring-related expenses. But savings from the integration, combined with lower restructuring-related expenses, are expected to result in a $20 million improvement in operating income in 2005 and $20 million in 2006, Black & Decker said. The company sees earnings from continuing operations of $1.20 to $1.25 a share for the second quarter and $4.70 to $4.85 a share for the full year. The company said it expects that restructuring benefits and volume leverage will continue to improve operating margins. Analysts are expecting a profit of $1.13 a share in the second quarter and $4.69 a share in the year. For both the second quarter and the full year, Black & Decker forecast that sales will increase in the mid-single-digits, excluding currency translation and acquisitions.