(By Balachander) H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE:HNZ) shares advanced as much as 2.8 percent in early trade on Tuesday after the ketchup and soups maker forecast "strong" results for the first-quarter, citing "dynamic growth" in Emerging Markets as well as improved productivity and higher margins.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based expects earnings per share (EPS) of 87 cents, up more than 10 percent from continuing operations, excluding productivity charges in the same period last year.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expect EPS of 80 cents for the three months ended July.
The company anticipates organic sales growth of almost 5 percent.
Heinz said it is on track to meet its forecast for fiscal 2013. It sees EPS from continuing operations in the range of $3.52 to $3.62, on organic sales growth of at least 4 percent. Analysts expect EPS of $3.51 for the year.
In the preceding fourth quarter, H.J. Heinz earned 81 cents excluding special charges on sales of $3.05 billion.
The company will report its first-quarter results on August 29.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range between $48.54 and $58.10, rose $1.66 to trade at $58.09 on Tuesday.