Jan 30 (Reuters) - United Parcel Service Inc on Thursday posted fourth-quarter profit that met expectations as a surge in online shopping just before Christmas led to late deliveries and higher costs, but it forecast a stronger year ahead.
For 2014, UPS, the biggest U.S. courier company said it expects earnings rising 11-16 percent over last year. For 2014 UPS expects to earn between $5.05 a share to $5.30 a share.
During the holiday period, UPS said global daily deliveries topped expectations by surpassing 29 million packages on five days and with peak volume exceeding 31 million on December 23.
Chief Executive Scott Davis said the courier company saw "an unprecedented increase in volume, exceeding even our most optimistic plans." He said the increased volume put a strain on the network, causing delays.
The company said earlier in the month it expected diluted earnings of $1.25 per share, well short of the average analyst estimate of $1.43 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Analysts revised their estimates after the company warning. On Thursday, UPS posted net earnings of $1.2 billion, or $1.25 a share, compared with a net loss of $1.7 billion, or $1.83 a share, last year. The latest EPS matched the revised estimates.
Shares of the Atlanta-based company closed at $95.33 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. They were trading at $95.95 before the markets opened on Thursday.