Tractor Supply Hits High After Guidance Boost

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tractor Supply ( TSCO) hit a 52-week high early Thursday after the company provided first-quarter guidance well above analysts' estimates.

The farm supplies retailer estimated earnings of between 53 cents and 55 cents a share, attributing about 9 cents to 11 cents from sales that happened earlier than usual due to warmer-than-normal weather.

Analysts, on average, expect earnings of 32 cents a share.

Tractor Supply also said its first-quarter net sales rose 22% to $1 billion.

"We are delighted to have achieved record first quarter sales in excess of one billion dollars for the first time in Tractor Supply's history, with favorable customer response to our spring assortments and ongoing merchandising enhancements," CEO Jim Wright said in a statement. "The structural improvements we have made to our business in recent years have enabled us to adapt our assortments more readily to meet consumer demand and react quickly to take advantage of events such as the early spring weather seen in March. Looking ahead to the remainder of 2012, we believe we have the right product and marketing plans in place to maintain consumer engagement and drive continued profitable growth."

The company is scheduled to report its first-quarter earnings on April 25.

Shares of Tractor Supply hit a 52-week high on Thursday of $95.20. The stock's 52-week low of $49.02 was set on Aug. 8.

Tractor Supply has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 22.76 times; the average for specialty retailers is 15.81.

Fifteen of the 25 analysts who cover Tractor Supply rated it buy; 10 analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Tractor Supply an A+ grade with a buy rating and $122.52 price target. The stock has risen 35.02% year to date.

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