Chemicals giant and Dow component DuPont ( DD) raised its estimates for 2007 and 2008, giving its shares a boost in early trading Wednesday.

The company said a strong fourth quarter allowed it to increase its targets for the year that was just completed. Earnings for the period should be at the high end of its projected range of $3.15 to $3.20 a share, excluding items.

For this year, DuPont is expecting a profit of $3.35 to $3.55 a share, up from its prior forecast of $3.31 to $3.52.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are calling for earnings of $3.19 for 2007 and $3.42 in the current year.

In a press release, the company said fourth-quarter revenue was "somewhat above" its earlier prediction.

"For the full year 2007, we will deliver 11% or more earnings growth despite a slowing U.S. economy and higher raw material prices," said Charles Holliday Jr., DuPont's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "Looking ahead, we are confident that our improved business mix and ongoing initiatives to lower cost and boost returns on innovation will enable us to deliver attractive growth in earnings in 2008."

Continued worldwide growth from the agriculture and nutrition business, along with all segments in emerging markets, should more than compensate for a slowdown in the U.S., DuPont said.

Shares of DuPont were climbing 1.8% in the premarket. The company will report its final results for the fourth quarter and 2007 on Jan. 22.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.