While most companies are warning they will likely miss their profit forecasts, chemical giant DuPont upped its first-quarter profit expectations Thursday morning for the second time this year.
The Delaware-based company said strong growth in its agriculture business and growth in emerging markets that offset weakness in the U.S. The chemicals and technology giant expects the bulk of the benefits from the positive trends to come early in the year.
DuPont shares ended 60 cents higher at $49.64, up 1.2 percent from Wednesday's close.
The company said it now expects first-quarter earnings of about $1.29 a share; it will be a 20 percent jump from its results in the first quarter of 2007, which also included a 6 cent special item charge. Analysts currently forecast DuPont's 2008 earnings at $3.45 a share.
These strong areas have countered weakness the company has in other areas, such as the U.S. construction and automotive markets. DuPont also cited the weak dollar and price and productivity gains helping to counter inflation in raw materials.
DuPont executives said in a statement that the slowing in U.S. markets, including housing and automotive, will offset growth in agriculture and other markets outside the U.S.
If DuPont does post first-quarter earnings of $1.29 per share on April 22, it will be a 20 percent jump from its results in the first quarter of 2007, which also included a 6 cent special item charge.
The booming agriculture sector has been led by an increase global food needs and demand for corn-based ethanol and other biofuels. As a result, competitors Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG have both raised their outlooks.
Growth in agriculture and emerging markets, along with continued cost productivity gains, are enabling us to overcome challenges in certain U.S. markets and higher cost ingredients, Charles O. Holliday, Jr., DuPont chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release.
DuPont is part of a growing list of American companies who have found larger revenue streams from outside of the United States.