Martin Marietta Materials stock was up nearly 6 percent in early trading Thursday after the Raleigh company reported a 66 percent increase in first-quarter sales and raised its pricing guidance for the year.
Martin Marietta had net sales of $631.9 million and revenue of $691.4 million in the quarter, compared with revenue of $528.7 million during the first quarter of 2014.
The company’s revenue total handily beat the $668.6 million that was the consensus among analysts who cover the company.
The company reported earnings per share of 7 cents in the quarter, compared with a loss of 47 cents per share during the same period in 2014. The first-quarter profit was the first Martin Marietta has reported in the first quarter since 2008.
The company’s earnings per share were below the 9 cents forecast by analysts.
Martin Marietta produces rock, gravel and other materials used to build roads, subdivisions and commercial buildings. The company’s business has come roaring back over the past year as economic activity has picked up across the country.
Martin Marietta shipped 17.1 percent more materials in the first quarter than it did during the same period in 2014. The company’s pricing rose 10.5 percent, and Martin Marietta now expects pricing to increase between 7 percent and 9 percent this year. It had previously forecast a pricing increase of 4 percent to 6 percent.
“We view this volume and pricing momentum as an indication of a more construction-centric phase of economic recovery,” Martin Marietta CEO Ward Nye said in a statement.
Martin Marietta said its growth was being driven by large projects in the Midwest and Southeast, particularly in states such as Iowa and North Carolina. Forty percent of the company’s shipments during the quarter went to the infrastructure market, an 8 percent increase over the first quarter of 2014.
Martin Marietta shares were up $7.00 at $143.30 in early trading Thursday. The stock is up 30 percent this year.