By  on August 31, 2007

Tiffany & Co. boosted its fiscal 2007 outlook after posting strong second-quarter results.

"We are experiencing a good start to the third quarter with overall U.S. and international sales growth in August to date achieving our expectations," said Michael Kowalski, chief executive officer, in a press release.

Shares of Tiffany rose 2.7 percent to $49.40 in New York Stock Exchange trading Thursday.

Tiffany increased its fiscal 2007 earnings guidance range to between $2.22 and $2.27 a diluted share, which excludes a 47 cent gain from the sale of its Tokyo store and a 5 cent contribution to the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, on sales growth of roughly 14 percent.

The jewelry retailer previously estimated it would earn between $2.10 and $2.15 a diluted share for the year; Wall Street has expected full-year earnings of $2.13 a share.

For its second quarter ended July 31, Tiffany reported earnings of $37 million, or 26 cents a diluted share, down from $41.1 million, or 29 cents a diluted share in the year-earlier period. The current results include a 17-cents-a-share charge related to Tiffany's sale of its Little Switzerland business.

Second-quarter net sales rose 19.5 percent to $662.6 million, from $554.7 million in the year-earlier period.

Analysts expected the company to earn 34 cents a share on revenue of $644.4 million.

CIBC World Markets analyst Dorothy Lakner reiterated her "sector outperformer" rating of Tiffany shares.

"TIF is not immune to market turmoil, nor is it recession-proof, but we believe its focus on higher-income consumers as well as its global diversification offers some shelter from current conditions," Lakner wrote in a note. "We also believe the company is now in a position to accelerate its sales and earnings growth over the next few years."

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