United Parcel Service Sees Next Day Air Spike On The Back Of Recovering Economy

Apr 26, 2011, 16:42 by John Steele

The United Parcel Service's Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn announced Tuesday that the company's next day air service shipments rose in the first quarter as business customers refilled stockpiles to meet higher demand from the recovering economy.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, UPS shares rose 66 cents to $74.30 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 2.4 percent this year.

The gains reflect "some of the increased velocity in the core economy with manufacturing and finished goods," Kuehn said. Businesses and retailers "are still cautious so they've kept inventories low. That means as demand shifts, then frequently customers do use the more premium services to cover gaps and shortages across their various supply chains."

Considered by traders to be a bellwether stock, UPS's earnings report is an early sign that Wall Street markets will be up, beating analysts' forecasts, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Corporate earnings have been generally strong so far this season, with around three-quarters of S&P; 500 companies beating analysts' forecasts so far. That has helped push the Dow industrials up to near three-year highs.

"On balance we have seen good earnings come through and today is no exception," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia. "We continue to see good news coming out of industrial America."

UPS wasn't the only stock to push trading Tuesday. Ford Motor Company and 3M Co also showed stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

Of course, these stocks are not the only things that drive Wall Street. U.S. consumer confidence data for April, to be released later on Tuesday, will be closely watched against a backdrop of rising oil prices and stubbornly high unemployment, which investors fear could hurt consumer spending, Reuters reported late Tuesday afternoon.