* Q1 adj EPS $0.20 vs est $0.16

* Sales down 18 pct

* Sees Q2 adj EPS $0.12-$0.17, rev $275-$295 mln

* Shares up 3 pct before the bell

Dec 17 - Diversified manufacturer Actuant Corp (ATU.N) posted better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast, citing better visibility.

We've experienced stabilization in most end markets and sequential improvement in certain early cycle businesses and those where inventory destocking was meaningful, Chief Executive Robert Arzbaecher said in a statement.

The company, whose products range from plugs and sockets to precision control systems for automobiles, sees adjusted 2010 earnings of 82 cents to 97 cents a share, up from its previous forecast of 70 cents to 95 cents.

It also raised the lower end of its revenue outlook range to $1.20 billion to $1.25 billion for the year.

For the first quarter ended Nov. 30, net income was $11.9 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with $11.6 million, or 19 cents, a year ago.

Excluding items, it earned 20 cents a share from continuing operations. Sales fell 18 percent to $305.1 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 16 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $292.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said year-over-year first-quarter core sales fell 20 percent, a sequential improvement from the 27 percent decline in the previous quarter.

Shares of the company were up 3 percent at $18.15 in pre-market trade. They closed at $17.60 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Divya Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan)