American Eagle Outfitters ( AEOS) reported a big rise in second-quarter profit and backed analysts' estimates for third-quarter earnings. The company earned $29.6 million, or 40 cents a share, in the quarter ended July 31, compared to $8.1 million, or 11 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Total sales jumped 22.8% to $413.8 million, while same-store sales rose 12.7%. Analysts had been calling for a profit of 38 cents a share on sales of $405 million. Meanwhile, gross margin expanded to 39.7% from 33% a year ago. American Eagle cited an improvement in merchandise margins. In a statement, American Eagle said it is comfortable with the Wall Street consensus for third-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share, saying the sales momentum it saw in July has continued. That would compare to earnings of 25 cents a share a year ago. Shares of Warrendale, Pa.-based American Eagle were up 33 cents, or 1%, at $32.33 in early Thursday trading.