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Celanese shares soar on 1Q profit

The Associated Press

Celanese Corp.'s shares soared Friday after the chemical maker reported a better-than-expected profit for the first quarter.

THE SPARK: Celanese reported late Thursday that it earned $142 million, or 89 cents per share, down from $193 million, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier. After adjusting for several special items, it earned $1.14 from continuing operations. That exceeded the 78 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet had forecast.

Its net revenue of $1.6 billion was nearly flat with the prior year, meeting analyst's forecasts.

THE ANALYSIS: The company benefited from a major dividend paid by a Chinese joint venture and gains in the consumer specialties and advanced engineered materials units. But Citi analyst PJ Juvekar said that it was the first good quarter under new management and reiterated a "Buy" rating on the stock.

SHARE ACTION: Shares jumped $4.72, or 11.2 percent, to $46.95 in later afternoon trading. That is near the top of the company's 52-week trading range of $32.77 to $50.68.