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Ahead of the Bell: Core Labs rallies on earnings

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Core Laboratories NV rose in premarket trading Thursday after the energy services company topped Wall Street expectations and raised its guidance.

The company, based in Amsterdam, reported late Wednesday that it earned $56.5 million, or $1.22 per share, in the first three months of the year, up 4.8 percent from its year-earlier profit of $54 million, or $1.13 per share.

Revenue increased 11 percent to $260.9 million from $234.2 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected a quarterly profit of $1.16 per share and revenue of $247.3 million, on average.

Core Labs, which said revenue and profits hit at all-time highs, cited its focus unconventional oil plays in North America and work on several high potential drilling sites.

For 2013, the company now expects to earn between $5.06 and $5.26 per share with revenue of $1.06 billion to $1.075 billion. Previously Core Labs expected earnings per share of $4.96 to $5.22 on revenue of $1.03 billion to $1.07 billion. Analysts expect $5.12 per share and $1.06 billion.

Core Labs also issued second-quarter guidance calling for earnings per share of $1.29 to $1.36 per share and revenue of $264 million to $269 million. That's ahead of the average Street profit estimate of $1.26 per share and sales of $261.5 million.

William Blair analyst Brandon Dobells said Core Labs remains a top pick for 2013.

"We believe this quarter's performance is representative of Core's ability to command premium pricing for its differentiated product lines and reflective of its leverage to strong secular tailwinds, like deepwater and unconventional developments regardless of geography," the analyst wrote in a note.

He has an "Outperform" rating on the stock.

In premarket trading, shares rose 6.2 percent, or $7.76, to $134. Over the past year, shares have traded between $94.72 and $143.21.