April 8, 2008 / 3:08 PM / 10 years ago

Harry Winston stock jumps as profit rises

TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares of Harry Winston Diamond Corp HW.TOHWD.N got a boost on Tuesday after the Canadian miner reported a three-fold jump in its fourth-quarter profit, easing anxiety about the company that had risen as the U.S. economy slowed.

The stock rose C$1.14, or 4.3 percent, to C$27.44, its highest point in a month, despite a wider downturn on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It was up $1.16, or 4.5 percent, at $27.10 in New York.

Harry Winston shares have declined as much as 35 percent since the start of the year as investors fretted over the impact the slowing U.S. economy would have on the diamond miner and jewelry retailer, which is expanding production in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

But late on Monday, the company said demand for its jewelry “continues to be very strong despite uncertain domestic economic conditions.”

It said the profit rise was helped by a shift away from its traditional customer base in the United States to countries in the Middle East, as well as Russia and China.

The United States -- often seen as headed toward a recession -- now accounts for only a third of Harry Winston’s global sales, the company said.

Sales in the period ended January 31 rose 22 percent to $188.2 million.

Net income rose to $90.4 million, or $1.54 per share in the quarter, compared with $27.3 million, or 47 cents a share in the same period a year earlier.

The results were boosted by a $22.3-million foreign exchange gain, and a one-time gain of $22.4 million related to future income tax recovery, the company said. It also added $8.0 million to its balance books from an insurance settlement.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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