Updated from July 19Corning ( GLW) jumped after posting a strong quarterly profit and boosting financial guidance. The Corning, N.Y., maker of fiber optic cable and computer screen glass posted second-quarter earnings of $108 million, or 7 cents a share. That reverses the year-ago loss of $22 million, or 2 cents a share. On a pro forma basis excluding certain costs, latest-quarter earnings were 11 cents a share, which is 2 cents ahead of the Wall Street analyst estimate. In its first quarter ended in March, Corning made 8 cents a share on sales of $844 million. Sales rose to $971 million in the latest quarter from $752 million a year earlier. Analysts had expected sales of $912 million in the latest period. "We are making excellent progress on our key business priorities, and we believe we can sustain this momentum into the third quarter," said CFO Jim Flaws. "It feels good to us right now. We see positive trends across many of our businesses, and we are looking forward to the third quarter." Corning says it plans to spend as much as $1 billion to expand production capacity in its liquid crystal display, or LCD, manufacturing business. Looking ahead, Corning expects third-quarter profits of around 11 cents a share on roughly $975 million in revenue. Wall Street had been looking for 9 cents a share on $954 million in sales. Corning has spent the last year-plus remaking its business, casting off unprofitable telecom ventures and focusing on stronger growth areas such as LCD screens and environmental technologies. The company's shares roared back from the low single digits in late 2002 and staged a hearty rally through 2003, but the stock has since been stuck in the low double-digit range. Corning has been flat for 2004, even after last quarter saw it hit quarterly targets and boost guidance.
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.