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Ahead of the Bell: Guess jumps

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Guess Inc. rose before Friday's opening bell after the clothing company reported a 63 percent drop in first-quarter net income, but still managed to beat Wall Street expectations.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted a profit of 14 cents per share, while analysts expected 8 cents per share. Revenue fell 5 percent to $548.9 million, hurt by lower demand in North America and Europe, matching analysts' predictions.

Jefferies analyst Randal Konik credited the better-than-expected first-quarter results to Guess' efforts to boost productivity and cut costs as it weathers still weak economic conditions in Europe and fewer shoppers in the U.S.

Konik, who rated the stock at "Hold," but cut his price target by $3 to $24, noted that first-quarter expectations for the company were very low and the company's prospects in both Europe and North America remain uncertain.

Guess on Tuesday backed its previous full-year profit prediction, saying it will earn between $1.70 and $1.90 per share, but cut its revenue forecast by $30 million to a range of $2.57 billion and $2.61 billion.

Analysts were forecasting earnings of $1.78 per share on revenue of $2.59 billion.

Wedbush's Betty Chen backed her "Neutral" rating and increased her price target by $5 to $32. She said that while the first-quarter results and guidance are "encouraging," continued weak European sales and the current price of the shares keep her from recommending them as an investment.

In premarket trading, Guess shares rose $2, or 7 percent, to $31.35.