Yum Tops Forecasts, Raises Full-Year Profit Outlook with Wires

Yum Brands shares jumped Tuesday as the fast-food company beat earnings forecasts by two cents a share and slightly raised its profit outlook for the full year, as China continued to fuel growth at the company.

The operator of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut fast-food chains said Tuesday that it earned 42 cents a share on sales of $2.408 billion in the first quarter, up from 35 cents a share on sales of $2.223 billion last year.

Thomson Financial said that analysts it surveyed expected Yum to turn in a profit of 40 cents a share on sales of $2.346 billion.

For the full year, Yum now expects to earn $1.85 to $1.87 a share. Previously, the company said it expected to earn about $1.85 per share.

Yum shares hopped almost 4 percent in extended electronic trading after closing 1.48 percent lower at $38.49.

The company also said it would return more than $2 billion to shareholders via dividends and stock buybacks in 2008.

Worldwide sales at stores open at least one year were up 4 percent, including 12 percent growth from its China division.

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