Hershey has lifted its forecast for underlying earnings today (26 July) after managing to increase prices more than expected in the first half of 2012.

The US confectioner said price increases had boosted margins and, with selling, marketing and advertising costs line with expectations, it sees adjusted EPS 

“Due to greater net price realisation we now expect adjusted gross margin to increase 100 to 120 basis points. This is greater than our previous estimate of about a 90 to 100 basis point increase,” Hershey president and CEO J.P. Bilbrey said. “As previously mentioned, SM&A costs, including advertising, are on track. As a result, we expect full-year adjusted earnings per share-diluted growth of 12-14% This is greater than our previous estimate of a 10-12% increase.”

The renewed guidance came as Hershey reported its half-year financial results. Profits and sales increased in the first six months of the year.

Shares in Hershey were up in early trading. At 10:52 ET, Hershey’s shares reached $71.17, up 1.19%.

Check back later for coverage of Hershey’s conference call with Wall Street analysts.

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