AP News

Whirlpool stock jumps on raised guidance

NEW YORK (AP) — Whirlpool shareholders cleaned up on Tuesday, with shares jumping to their highest level in more than two years after it reported an adjusted profit that beat Wall Street expectations.

THE SPARK: Whirlpool lifted its forecast for full-year adjusted earnings, and said sales climbed in North America, although they were flat or declined everywhere else.

It raised its 2012 adjusted earnings guidance to $6.90 to $7.10 per share, up from previous guidance of $6.50 to $7.

THE ANALYSIS: KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Kenneth R. Zener upgraded Whirlpool to "Buy" from "Hold." He said margins in North America rose to 9.4 percent from 2.4 percent a year ago. The arrival of LG and Samsung a decade ago sparked 10 years of thin margins, but conditions are improving and he expects 2013 margins of 10 percent.

Zener put a $108, 12-month price target on the stock.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool Corp. rose $5.92, or 6.9 percent, to $92.23 in afternoon trading after rising earlier in the session as high as $93.19, its highest level since July 2010.

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