RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) ¿ Trash hauler Casella Waste Systems Inc. on Wednesday reported a fiscal first-quarter loss, reversing a year-ago profit, as revenue dropped and low commodity prices hurt its recycling business.

Its shares rose, however, as sales still topped Wall Street expectations and the company confirmed financial guidance for fiscal 2010.

The company said the loss for the quarter that ended July 31 totaled $2.8 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with a profit of almost $2.2 million, or 8 cents per share, during the same period last year. The company said the latest-quarter loss included around $500,000, or 2 cents per share, in accounting charges to refinance some debt.

Revenue fell 14 percent to $135.9 million, from $157.9 million a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting a loss of a penny per share on revenue of $132.1 million.

More than half of the revenue drop was in processing and recycling revenue, which fell $13.8 million because of lower commodity prices. Solid waste revenue fell $14 million. The company said volume in economically sensitive areas fell compared with last year, with roll-off pulls and construction and demolition waste especially weak.

Looking ahead, the company backed its fiscal 2010 outlook for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization between $120 million and $126 million.

Before the results were released, Casella shares had fallen 7 cents, or 2.7 cents, to close at $2.53. But they rose 25 cents, or 9.9 percent, to $2.78 in late trading.

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