Corning First-Quarter Profits Up 27 Percent

Corning Inc. said Wednesday its first-quarter profit rose 27 percent, exceeding Wall Street's expectations despite a seasonal slowdown in demand for liquid-crystal-display glass.

Its shares rose more than 5 percent.

The world's biggest maker of ultra-thin LCD glass for flat-screen televisions and computers earned $327 million, or 20 cents a share, in the January-March period, up from $257 million, or 16 cents a share, in last year's first quarter.

Sales rose 4 percent to $1.307 billion from $1.26 billion a year ago.

Excluding asbestos litigation and other one-time charges of $125 million, or 8 cents a share, earnings totaled $452 million, or 28 cents a share, in the latest period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had forecast earnings of 26 cents a share on sales of $1.296 billion.  Shares of Corning rose $1.25, or 5.3 percent, to $24.98 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Corning's display technologies sales fell 4 percent to $524 million from $547 million a year ago when it was hit by an inventory buildup among suppliers. But the business still generated $364 million in net income.

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