UPS tops expectations in holiday quarter

EarningsReuters

The US economy has held up reasonably strong: UPS CEO

UPS CEO David Abney on the outlook for global shipping, the state of the economy, Amazon's impact on shipping and the impact of Trump administration trade negotiations on U.S. retailers.

(Reuters) - United Parcel Service Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as the company benefited from record volumes during the crucial holiday season.

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Shares of the world's biggest package delivery company rose nearly 6 percent to $107.06 in early trading.

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The company successfully executed "transformation investments and initiatives that lifted revenue quality and improved efficiency," Chief Executive Officer David Abney said in a statement.

UPS results comes just a month after rival FedEx Corp slashed its forecast for fiscal 2019 ending May, citing a global trade slowdown.

"Our broad portfolio, diverse revenue base and flexible network help buffer the impacts of global economic softening," Abney added.

The company said it expects 2019 earnings per share between $7.45 and $7.75, which is largely below analysts' average estimate of $7.69 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income fell to $453 million, or 52 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $1.10 billion, or $1.26 per share, a year earlier.

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The latest quarter included a $1.24 billion after-tax pension charge. UPS earned $1.94 per share on an adjusted basis, above analysts' expectation of $1.90 per share.

Revenue rose to $19.85 billion from $18.98 billion.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)