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Nokia Earnings In Line, Optimistic for Year

Nokia, the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, reported April-June results roughly in line with forecasts, and was upbeat on the rest of 2008, easing fears that economic woes were hitting phone demand.

Nokia shares in Helsinki closed higher by 8.1 percent, though they are still 35 percent down this year.

Nokia slightly raised its forecast for the mobile phone industry, saying volume would grow 10 percent or more in 2008, having previously forecast growth of about 10 percent.

"Looking at the rest of the year, we are optimistic and have had good feedback about the broad range of new products we expect to sell," Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement on Thursday.

The company said earnings per share for the three months, minus special items, rose to 0.36 euros from 0.32 euros in the same period of 2007, compared with an average forecast of 0.37 euros in a Reuters poll of 31 analysts.

The cellphone industry has been speculating about the effect of a global economic slowdown since Sony Ericsson shocked the market with June's profit warning due to soft European demand.

"Slight increase in guidance ... is really showing that Nokia is being able to weather reasonably well the economic problems.

These are present particularly in developed markets, and that is why you have a relief rally in the share," said Nomura analyst Richard Windsor.

Nokia's average selling price for phones in the second quarter disappointed the market, however, falling to 74 euros from 79 euros in the previous quarter.

Analysts had on average expected 77 euros.

Nokia sold 122 million phones in the period, beating the average forecast of 120 million in the poll of analysts.

Sony Ericsson reports on Friday, while LG Electronics will report on July 21, Samsung on July 25 and Motorola on July 31.

Nokia said its network gear making venture Nokia Siemens Networks reached an underlying operating profit margin of 6.7 percent in the quarter.