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The Associated Press April 20, 2011, 12:43PM ET

Eaton 1Q earnings up 85 percent

Diversified manufacturer Eaton Corp. reported an 85 percent jump in its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, helped by a 23 percent sales boost as industrial markets improved.

Eaton, which makes hydraulic and transmission systems for the auto and space industries and military, beat Wall Street estimates and raised its earnings guidance for the full year.

Its shares rose 52 cents to $53.15 in midday trading.

"`We saw solid growth in our industrial markets, and we continue to believe nonresidential construction activity is on track to begin recovering by the middle of this year," Chairman and CEO Alexander M. Cutler said.

"All in all, a very strong start to what we believe is going to be a record year," Cutler said.

The company reported net income rose to $287 million, or 83 cents per share, from $155 million, or 46 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $3.8 billion from $3.1 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast earnings of 80 cents per share and revenue of $3.6 billion. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates.

Cutler said Eaton's electrical Americas, hydraulics, and truck markets grew more strongly than expected.

"U.S. truck markets accelerated in the first quarter, growing 36 percent compared to the first quarter in 2010 and 16 percent over the fourth quarter of 2010," Cutler said.

Eaton, which sells in more than150 countries, expects its markets to grow 10 percent this year, up from earlier estimates of 8 percent and then 9 percent.

"I think good news again on this whole question of momentum," Cutler said in a conference call with analysts. "We're continuing to see it increase in our markets."

Eaton raised its 2011 guidance by 15 cents per share to between $3.66-$3.96. Analysts had expected earnings of $3.80 a share for the year.

Eaton bounced back from the recession last year, earning $929 million, or $5.46 per share, compared with 2009 net income of $383 million, or $2.27 per share.


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