Maersk CEO: Reasons to be a little optimistic

Danish shipping and oil group Moeller-Maersk reported a first-quarter net profit above analysts' forecasts, supported by higher container volumes and increased oil production.

"We've come out of the first quarter with a strong growth in our container business," Moeller Maersk CEO Nils Andersen told CNBC on Wednesday.

"Things are actually improving quite a bit because the oil prices are itching up," said Andersen. "It's not that the world has improved greatly but the oil price is moving in the right direction."

The stock reacted positively to the news and was up 5 percent in early trading.

Net profit fell to $224 million, Maersk reported, beating an average forecast of $55.6 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

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The Danish shipping giant kept its outlook for an underlying profit for the full year significantly below last year's $3.1 billion.

"We're not out of our tough times but there are some reasons to be a little more optimistic," Andersen told CNBC.