Updated from 4:19 p.m. EDTMotorola ( MOT) surged 20% late Tuesday after posting a blowout first quarter, mostly at the expense of rival Nokia ( NOK). For its first quarter ended in March, the Schaumburg, Ill., wireless giant reported earnings of $609 million, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of $8.6 billion. That's well ahead of the year-ago profit of $169 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $6 billion. The latest-quarter profit included about 7 cents of income from gains. On an operating basis, Motorola earned 18 cents a share in the period, which is miles ahead of the 7-cent Wall Street consensus as posted by Thomson First Call. The news only got better for investors, as Motorola followed news of the blowout first quarter with a substantial bump in second-quarter earnings guidance. The company said strong performances at its handset and soon-to-be-separated semiconductors units led the advance. The stock surged 15% in postclose action after a 3% decline during regular trading. "We are very pleased with the strong financial performance of the first quarter," CEO Ed Zander said. "Sales and earnings exceeded our start-of-the-quarter guidance, the result of strengthening customer demand, improved execution in delivering new products, and growing market share in some areas. "I also believe these results reflect increasing momentum for our evolving vision of seamless mobility," Zander added. "Our growing portfolio of products, seamlessly connected, will bring voice, media, and data-rich services to people wherever they are: at home, at work, in the auto or out in the world." The company cashed in this quarter on its midprice camera phones, a model consumers were clamoring for but one that sector leader Nokia failed to produce in time. The news comes on the heels of a camera-phone-driven slipup at Nokia, whose shares have lost a third of their value this month following a pair of earnings warnings. By contrast, Motorola said personal communications segment sales surged 67% from a year ago to $4.1 billion. Operating earnings more than tripled to $398 million. During the quarter, the company shipped 25.3 million handsets, up 51% from the year-ago quarter, and improved its market share, particularly in Europe. The segment also announced 25 new handsets, 24 featuring color displays and 16 featuring integrated cameras. The company bounced back on the handset front after shipping delays and supplier shortages sabotaged Motorola's color camera phone sales last winter. Motorola also boosted second-quarter earnings guidance, saying the company would make around 16 cents a share on some $8.4 billion in revenue. Analysts had forecast earnings of 9 cents on revenue of $6.9 billion. Notably, Motorola announced in December that it would spin off its chip business, which is to be called Freescale Semiconductor. On Tuesday, Motorola slipped 50 cents to $16.20. In after-hours action, the stock jumped $3.30 to $19.50.
Even though AT&T tried a last-minute bribe of promising 5,000 new U.S. jobs to help gain support for the deal, the Justice Department filed a complaint to fight the combination of the nation's No. 2 and No. 4 wireless carriers.