Shares of Acuity Brands Inc. surged 11% in early trade Thursday, after the maker of lighting products reported stronger-than-expected earnings for its fiscal third quarter. The company said it had net income of $82.2 million, or $1.90 a share, in the quarter, up from $74.0 million, or $1.69 a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to $2.15, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $2.02. Sales rose to $891.6 million from $851.5 million, also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $879 million. "Our third quarter net sales reflect continued solid performance even though initial industry data suggests that the growth rate of the Company's key end markets in North America grew only in the low single-digit range," Chief Executive Vernon Nagel said in a statement. "We believe the market growth rate reflected continued softness in demand for certain short-cycled, smaller lighting projects." Shares have fallen 14% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained about 9%.
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