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FleetCor shares hit all-time high on strong 3Q

NEW YORK (AP) -- FleetCor Technologies hit an all-time high in Friday trading after company, which provides fuel card and payment products to businesses, reported better-than-expected third-quarter results and boosted its outlook for the entire year.

THE SPARK: FleetCor's third-quarter net income jumped 47 percent to $59.6 million, or 69 cents per share, the company said late Thursday. Excluding one-time items, the company posted an adjusted profit of 83 cents per share.

Revenue rose 39 percent to $186.9 million, as revenue excluding merchant commissions increased 44 percent to $174 million.

FleetCor beat Wall Street expectations on both counts handily.

The Norcross, Ga., company raised its adjusted 2012 profit guidance to between $2.89 and $2.91 per share, up from its previous range of $2.74 to $2.78 per share. It also increased its revenue predictions to between $678 million and $682 million, up from $665 million to $675 million.

Analysts expected a profit of $2.78 per share on $672.1 million in revenue.

THE BIG PICTURE: FleetCor credited the positive third-quarter results to strong demand from existing customers in the U.S. and contributions from recent acquisitions.

THE ANALYSIS: Citi analyst Philip Stiller boosted his rating for FleetCor to "Buy" from "Neutral" and raised his price target by $7 to $56, saying that he expects the company's trends of strong North American organic growth, contributions from overseas acquisitions and solid profitability to continue.

"The stock is currently trading in line with its peers and we believe strong earnings-per-share growth will drive additional upside on top of the strong year-to-date return (about 55 percent)," Stiller wrote in a note to investors.

THE SHARES: Shares of FleetCor, which went public in Dec. 2010, jumped to an all-time high of $49.49 shortly after Friday's trading session began. But by midafternoon, the shares had retreated to $46.74.

Since the beginning of this year, shares of FleetCor Technologies Inc. have risen about 54 percent.