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Corning 1Q net income rises 4 pct

CORNING, N.Y. (AP) -- Corning's first-quarter net income rose 4 percent as declines in the price of its liquid crystal display glass moderated. Shares rose nearly 3 percent in premarket trading after the company announced a new $2 billion share buyback program and a dividend hike.

The company earned $494 million, or 33 cents per share, up from $474 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before. Excluding one-time items, the company posted a profit of 30 cents per share, which easily topped the 24 cents per share that Wall Street was looking for.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $1.81 billion from $1.92 billion, which just missed analyst projections, according to a poll by FactSet.

Core sales, which exclude the effects of exchange rate changes and other items, rose 7 percent to $650 million at its display technologies business, helped by the more moderate declines LCD glass prices.

Telecommunications sales fell 7 percent to $470 million, as the U.S. government wound down its broadband investments, while sales at its specialty materials business, which make Gorilla Glass used in smartphones and tablets, fell 10 percent to $258 million.

The company, based in Corning, N.Y., said it expects declines in LCD glass prices to continue to moderate in the second quarter. Telecommunications sales are expected to rise about 20 percent from first-quarter levels, while specialty materials sales are expected to be up 15 to 20 percent on higher Gorilla Glass demand.

Corning announced a 1-cent increase to its regular quarterly cash dividend, boosting it to 10 cents, and approved the repurchase of up to $2 billion of the company's common stock.

Corning shares rose 22 cents to $13.35 in premarket trading.