FedEx Corp said profits in both the current and next quarters would be higher than it had earlier expected, citing an improving economy and stable fuel prices, and its shares jumped 5.4 percent to their best level in nearly a year.

FedEx said it now expected to report first-quarter earnings of 58 cents per share and second-quarter earnings of 65 cents to 95 cents per share.

That compares with analyst expectations of 43 cents and 70 cents for the first and second quarters, respectively.

The improved outlook reflects the current outlook for fuel prices and a continued modest recovery in the global economy, the company said in a statement. Its earlier forecast had called for fiscal first-quarter earnings of 30 cents to 45 cents per share.

This company is very well positioned to benefit from any, even a very modest, economic recovery, said Edward Jones analyst Daniel Ortwerth. You're talking about planes that are out there flying around and not very full. You put more packages on them and the margins improve.

The news could also bode well for FedEx's main U.S. rival, United Parcel Service, he noted.

This will benefit FedEx more than UPS because they've been the trend-setter in international delivery, Ortwerth said.

FedEx shares were up $3.83 to $76.49 in early trading, while UPS rose $1.70 to $58, both on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares of Deutsche Post, parent of DHL, rose 3.8 percent in German trading.

The rally put FedEx shares at their best level since October 2008.

FedEx stock has more than doubled since lows in early March, outperforming UPS, the S&P 500 index .SPX> and the Dow Jones transports index .DJT>.

FedEx is set to report full results on September 17.

(Additional reporting by Scott Malone in Boston, editing by Dave Zimmerman)