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Whirlpool raises full-year forecast as appliance sales rise

A Whirlpool logo is seen on a range door at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Berry
A Whirlpool logo is seen on a range door at the Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Tennessee August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Berry

(Reuters) - Whirlpool Corp raised its full-year earnings forecast after strong sales of its home appliances in Europe and North America helped the company to more than double its quarterly profit.

Shares of Whirlpool, the world's largest home appliance maker, were up 4 percent before the bell.

The company said it expected to earn $9.90 to $10.10 per share, excluding items, for the full year, compared with an earlier forecast of $9.50 to $10.00.

Analysts on average were expecting full-year earnings of $9.97 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Whirlpool's shares took a hit last week over concerns about softening demand for its appliances in September, which were then exacerbated by a temporary slowdown in consumer spending tied to the partial U.S. government shutdown.

But some analysts brushed aside such concerns, saying that consumer confidence tended to recover quickly once a perceived threat had passed. The 16-day government shutdown ended last week.

Whirlpool, along with Swedish rival Electrolux AB , also said in July that it expected a rebound in European sales as consumer confidence in the region returns.

Whirlpool, which has embarked on a cost-cutting drive this year, said on Tuesday that sales in its Europe, Middle East and Africa division rose 10.8 percent to $778 million in the third quarter ended September 30.

The company said it expects industry sales in that division to be flat from a year earlier, having earlier forecast a decline of as much as 2 percent.

Net income available to Whirlpool rose to $196 million, or $2.42 per share, in the third quarter from $74 million, or 94 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Whirlpool earned $2.72 per share, above the $2.61 that analysts had expected.

The company's shares have gained about 50 percent in the past 12 months and outperformed the S&P 500 <.SPX> index.

They closed at $130.97 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Robin Paxton)

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