Shares of Movado Group Inc. gained 9.3 percent in midday trading today as the watchmaker raised its annual earnings guidance and set a special cash dividend.

The stock was up $3 to $35.23 at 3:30 p.m. on Wall Street.


RELATED CONTENT: Click Here for More Earnings Coverage >>

The Paramus, N.J.-based firm, which posted third-quarter income that more than doubled, said its special 75 cent dividend would be paid Dec. 21, as will its regular quarterly dividend of 5 cents. Companies have been moving to pay dividends before the year ends to avoid automatic tax increases that would go into effect if Washington can’t work out a fix for the so-called fiscal cliff.

For the third quarter ended Oct. 31, Movado’s net income rose to $34.5 million, or $1.34 a diluted share, from $16.4 million, or 65 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding a tax benefit, Movado said its profit equaled 67 cents a share, which was better than the 61 cent profit analysts predicted.

Net sales for the quarter rose 12.3 percent to $160.2 million from $142.6 million.

“We continue to provide compelling styles across our watch portfolio fueled by innovation and quality craftsmanship,” said Efraim Grinberg, chairman and chief executive officer. “As we begin the fourth quarter, we believe we remain well positioned with strong marketing programs in place to support each of our brands for the upcoming holiday season.”

Movado raised its adjusted profit guidance for the year to $1.50 a share from $1.40 a share. The company still projects revenue of $510 million.

Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.47 on net sales of $508.2 million.