Updated from 9:25 a.m. EDT

UPS ( UPS) delivered solid first-quarter results, citing strong improvement in every business segment and telling shareholders 2004 earnings will likely come in at the high end of expectations.

On Thursday morning, UPS announced first-quarter net income of $759 million, or 67 cents a share, up 24% from the year-ago $611 million, or 54 cents a share. Analysts expected the shipping giant to make 62 cents a share. Revenue came in at $8.92 billion, up 11.3% from the year-ago $8.02 billion and higher than the $8.6 billion expected by analysts.

"We clearly are reaping the benefits of our strategy to provide broad solutions across the supply chain," said Scott Davis, CFO. "Increasingly, we are seeing each segment of our business help fuel the growth of other business units."

Indeed, the company's bread-and-butter domestic ground and air businesses shipped 600,000 packages a day, up 5% from a year ago. As a result, U.S. package revenue came in at $6.54 billion, up 8.6% from last year, with operating margins of 12.7%, up from 11.7% a year ago.

Results were even stronger outside the U.S. with profits from lucrative international shipping coming in at $269 million, double last year's total, driven by a 16.6% operating margin, a record for the segment. All told, international revenue came in at $1.62 billion, up 24.3% from last year, fueled by a 60% surge in exports for UPS' Chinese operations.

Outside of shipping, the company's supply chain solutions unit showed strength as well, with revenue from the unit increasing more than 12% from last year, with operating profits of $117 million, up 9.3% year over year.

Going forward, UPS said that second-quarter earnings would come in between 67 cents and 72 cents a share, roughly in line with the current consensus estimate of a 70-cent profit. While this guidance may leave investors wanting more, the company said that 2004 results would come in at the high end of its earlier guidance of earnings growth between 12% and 18%.

Shares of UPS were recently up 55 cents, or 0.8%, to $71.75.

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