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Corning Inches Higher

Share rise after the glass company boosts earnings targets.

Just two weeks after its previous update, Corning (GLW) once again reaffirmed its third-quarter guidance. But now the glow-worm expects to hit the high end of its target range.

The tech glassmaker now says adjusted earnings in the third quarter will "be in the upper end of our guidance range of 34 cents to 37 cents," thanks in part to the recent appreciation of the yen, according to a press release Wednesday. Corning also reiterated that it expects sales to be about $1.55 billion for the quarter ending this month.

Analysts have been expecting an adjusted profit of 36 cents a share on $1.55 billion in revenue, according to Reuters Research.

The company also said its all-important liquid crystal display unit, which supplies glass for flat-screen computer monitors and TVs, is looking solid.

"Record panel manufacturer shipments for July and August, stable panel pricing, and acceptable panel inventory levels provide good indicators that LCD product shipments are on track with our forecasts," says finance executive Kate Asbeck in the release. Asbeck is expected to update investors at a Bank of America conference today.

The reassurance comes a week after LCD TV maker


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shares plunged on lowered guidance and the sudden departure announcement by its CFO.

Analysts and investors said Syntax-Brillian's stumble was somewhat isolated, but that did not help alleviate anxiety about the health of consumer spending amid a credit crunch. High-definition flat-panel TVs are expected to be big sellers during the holiday retailing blitz, as long as big-spenders don't suddenly get tight-fisted.

Making the picture

a little fuzzier, a potential shortage of panels for the prime 32-inch TV category may help dampen sales volumes and force manufacturers and retailers to cut prices on larger 40-inch and above models.

Corning also says it bought back 5.3 million shares for $125 million in the third quarter. The company has $375 million more budgeted for stock repurchases by the end of next year.

Corning shares rose 20 cents to $24.22 in early trading Wednesday.