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3M tops forecasts, shares surge

Shares of the diversified manufacturer soar after it says net income rose to $1.4 billion and reaffirms outlook.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- 3M, maker of Scotch tape, Post-it notes and other products, Thursday reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts and affirmed its full-year outlook, sending its shares up nearly 4 percent.

Shares of 3M (up $2.83 to $79.80, Charts, Fortune 500) jumped 3.8 percent in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The chemical and consumer products company said net income soared 52 percent to $1.4 billion, or $1.85 a share, which included $422 million of after-tax gains from special items.

Excluding the special items, earnings per share rose to $1.28, which beat analysts' forecasts of $1.12 before one-time items, according to Briefing.com.

Revenue rose to $5.9 billion, up 6.1 percent from $5.6 billion in 2006. Analysts on average expected revenue of $5.7 billion, according to Thomson.

The St. Paul, Minnesota-based company said it still expects full-year earnings in the range of $5.20 to $5.45 a share, including gains in the range of 60 to 70 cents a share.

It previously said its expected full-year profit range before one-time items was $4.60 to $4.75 a share. Analysts were expecting $4.66 a share.

3M also still sees full-year, local-currency sales growth, excluding the sale of the drug business, in the range of 6 percent to 10 percent. Including the sale, the expected growth rate remains between 2 percent and 6 percent.

"I still feel they have a little bit of a challenging environment in front of them, at least for the next several quarters as they continue to invest to increase the capacity and de-bottleneck some of their production facilities," Dmitry Silversteyn, an analyst at Longbow Securities, told Reuters.

"I just don't think now that the bottom will be perhaps as deep as I had once feared," Silversteyn said, who has a "neutral" rating on the stock.

Investors wary about an economic slowdown in the U.S. look to companies like 3M - because of its extensive product portfolio - for clues to the future.

-- Reuters contributed to this report Top of page