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Watsco 1st-quarter net income jumps 58 percent

MIAMI (AP) -- Watsco Inc. said Thursday that its first-quarter net income jumped 58 percent on higher demand for its air conditioners and heating systems.

The company said it earned $13.4 million, or 39 cents per share, during the quarter that ended March 31, compared to $8.5 million, or 23 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The results beat Wall Street analysts' earnings expectations of 36 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 13 percent to $713.6 million from $633.5 million. That's below the $721.1 million in revenue that analysts were expecting, according to FactSet. The first quarter is a seasonally slow one for the Miami-based company, which distributes heating and cooling systems and their parts to repair them.

Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 11 percent to $144.9 million.

Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 3 percent. The measure is considered a key gauge of a retailer's performance, because it excludes results from stores that opened or closed during the year. The company operates more than 570 locations throughout North America.

For 2013, Watsco expects a "record year," with earnings between $3.60 and $3.75 per share, in line with analyst expectations of $3.70 per share. The company said it plans to reduce debt and evaluate whether it will increase its dividend before the end of the year. Watsco currently pays a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share.

Watsco shares rose $2.89, or 3.7 percent, to $81.77 in morning trading.