HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) ¿ First-quarter results for some industrial companies will be below expectations as there was little economic improvement in March, an analyst said Wednesday.

However, Yvonne M. Varano of Jefferies & Co. said in a note to investors that shares of several industrial companies have increased recently due to rising optimism and institutional investors seeking opportunities.

"We believe the run-up in many industrial related shares in recent weeks has as much to do with increased optimism as with the need of institutional investors to get off the sidelines and put money to work," Varano said.

Varano said several broad indicators "are showing signs of leveling off, potentially indicating a bottom."

"A definite uptick, however, is yet to be evident," she said.

In addition, she said demand still is generally weak.

"While stimulus spending, easing of credit and destocking of inventories should provide a boost in the back-half of the year, we believe that some expectations surrounding a better second half of 2009 may still be aggressive."

Shares could decline for companies with significant business in Europe and other overseas markets that have weakened, she said, citing Parker Hannifin Corp., Harsco Corp., Diebold Inc. and Trimas Corp.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Parker Hannifin to earn 46 cents per share in the first quarter. Analysts expect earnings of 19 cents per share at Harsco, 17 cents per share at Diebold and 10 cents per share at Trimas.

Metals manufacturing companies such as Olympic Steel Inc., AM Castle and Co., Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. and Dynamic Materials Corp. could meet expectations, but only because of "dramatic estimate revisions" that have already been made, she said.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect a first quarter loss of $1.33 per share at Olympic Steel, a profit of 12 cents per share at AM Castle, 56 cents per share at Reliance Steel & Aluminum and 31 cents per share at Dynamic Materials.

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