Updated from April 22Corning ( GLW) surged 13%Friday morning after posting a stronger-than-expected first quarter and boosting second-quarter earnings guidance. The company cited strong demand for liquid crystal display glass in its display technologies segment and solid sales increases in the environmental technologies and life sciences segments. Those gains were offset by an expected decline in telecommunications segment sales, Corning said. The company said it is "optimistic" that the LCD glass market growth will be near 50% industrywide in the second quarter. The company said sales of flat-screen televisions and computer monitors is boosting its performance. For its first quarter ended March 31, the Corning, N.Y., company posted earnings of $55 million, or 4 cents a share, reversing the year-ago loss of $205 million, or 17 cents a share. Latest-quarter results included 4 cents a share worth of restructuring charges; excluding those, the numbers handily beat the Wall Street analyst consensus estimate, which called for earnings of 5 cents on sales of $805 million. "We are extremely pleased with our first-quarter performance," CEO James Houghton said. "Our sales exceeded our expectations and we were pleased with our improved manufacturing performance that contributed to our gross margin improvement to more than 35%. In addition, we continued to experience strong equity earnings." Once a leading maker of optical gear for telecom networks, Corning has recently shifted its focus to liquid crystal displays and environmental products. With those businesses posting strong returns and Corning's balance sheet returning to health, the once-flaccid stock surged over the last year, outperforming even the broad tech market revival. On Friday, Corning jumped $1.32 to $11.57. The company also boosted second-quarter guidance, calling for second-quarter operating earnings of around 8 cents a share on revenue of $925 million. The Wall Street consensus estimate calls for earnings of 6 cents a share on revenue of $834 million. "Overall, we are very pleased with our progress in the first quarter," said financial chief James B. Flaws. "And we are excited about our potential revenue growth for the second quarter. We are gaining momentum and we look forward to delivering on our three priorities: maintaining our financial health, improving the company's profitability and continuing to invest in future growth opportunities."
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.