NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- United Parcel Service ( UPS) reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts' expectations on strong ground and export shipments in the post-holiday season. UPS reported net income that rose to $1.04 billion, or $1.08 a share, in the first quarter, from $970 million, or $1 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding items, UPS earned $1.04 a share, beating analysts' expectations of earnings of $1.01, according to Thomson Reuters.
UPS said daily package volume in the U.S. grew 4.4%, helping to drive a 2.3% increase in sales. The company also said customers returning holiday gifts through the UPS Returns services aided growth. The company reaffirmed its guidance for full-year adjusted earnings of $4.80 to $5.06 a share. UPS also announced it will buy Hungarian pharmaceuticals-delivery company Cemelog Zrt for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter. Verizon Communications ( VZ) is said to be considering a $100 billion bid for Vodafone's ( VOD) stake in Verizon Wireless. Verizon, which already own 55% of the company, would assume full ownership if the deal goes through. The company has not made a formal bid at this point, but Reuters cited sources that say Verizon has hired banking and legal advisers to explore a potential bid. The sources said Verizon plans to raise about $50 billion of bank financing and pay for the remainder of the deal with its own shares. According to the sources, Verizon is expected to discuss details of the potential deal at a meeting next week.
Verizon is the biggest U.S. wireless carrier. The company's shares have climbed about 20% this year on strength in its wireless business. Google ( GOOG) has offered to make changes to its search display in Europe to appease antitrust regulators. Google said it would make changes including labeling its promoted content more clearly and displaying links to competitors for five years. The move comes as the company tries to settle a nearly three-year antitrust investigation by the European Union. The EU has been concerned that Google is abusing its dominant position in the market and favoring its own search results over those of its competitors.