UPDATE 1-Lear quarterly earnings rise on strength overseas


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DETROIT, April 29 (Reuters) - Lear Corp posted an increase in quarterly earnings on Tuesday as sales rose outside the slumping North American market, and the auto parts maker left its full-year earnings forecast unchanged.

Lear, which has divested its auto interiors business to concentrate on seating and electronics, raised its full-year revenue forecast due to favorable foreign exchange rates while cutting its outlook for North American auto industry production.

Net income rose to $78.2 million, or $1.00 per share, in the first quarter, from $49.9 million, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net sales fell to $3.86 billion from $4.41 billion due to the divestiture of the interiors business and lower North American auto industry production, caused in part by a strike at American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc that has affected output at General Motors Corp .

The slowing U.S. economy and rising fuel prices have pressured U.S. auto sales this year and have driven a shift toward cars and crossover utility vehicles built on car platforms and away from large SUVs and pickup trucks.

Lear said it expects production by U.S.-based automakers in North America to fall 10 percent this year. It previously forecast a 9 percent decline.

The company raised its 2008 net sales forecast to $15.5 billion from $15 billion to reflect mainly the weakness of the dollar. Lear said it still expects 2008 core operating earnings of $660 million to $700 million. (Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and John Wallace)



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