Sherwin-Williams ( SHW) sharply raised its first-quarter earnings guidance Tuesday, citing higher sales and margins. The paint company expects to earn 75 cents to 79 cents a share on sales that were up 13% to 14% from a year ago. Previously it had forecast first-quarter earnings of 56 cents to 61 cents a share on sales that were up by a percentage in the high-single digits or low-double digits. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of 59 cents a share on sales of $1.68 billion in the most recent quarter. "Better-than-expected sales in the Paint Stores Group Segment are primarily responsible for the increase in consolidated net sales expectations," the company said. Sherwin-Williams' shares have been whipped around in recent weeks by developments in a lawsuit over lead paint. They closed Monday at $44.88. In recent Instinet trading, Sherwin-Williams rose $1.67, or 3.7%, to $46.55.