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Boeing posts profit, raises forecasts

Boeing Co. Wednesday posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, boosted by strong military sales and interest on a big tax refund, and raised its sales and earnings forecasts.
/ Source: Reuters

Boeing Co. Wednesday posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, boosted by strong military sales and interest on a big tax refund, and raised its sales and earnings forecasts.

The No. 2 commercial jetmaker and No. 2 Pentagon contractor earned $623 million, or 77 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $478 million, or 60 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2003, which included a $913 million noncash charge for goodwill impairment.

Chicago-based Boeing boosted its 2005 revenue forecast by $2 billion, to between $57 billion and $59 billion. It raised its full-year 2004 earnings forecast by 30 cents per share and increased its 2005 profit forecast by 25 cents per share, citing rising commercial jet deliveries and unexpectedly low pension expenses.

The company's shares rose to $44.34 in premarket trading on the electronic brokerage system INET, up from their Tuesday close at $43.55 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Boeing last week said it would "significantly exceed" Wall Street forecasts for the first quarter, and the results beat the 43 cents per share consensus estimate of analysts polled by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc.

First-quarter revenue rose to $13 billion from $12.3 billion a year ago, with a $1.1 billion gain in military and space revenue offsetting a $370 million decline in commercial jet revenue.