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What: Shares of aerospace composites maker Hexcel (NYSE: HXL) rose more than 12% in early trading and remain up over 8% as I write this after reporting strong first quarter results.

So what: Revenue rose 26.1% to $331.6 million while adjusted profit improved 67% to $0.25 per share. Both results easily beat expectations. Analysts had been calling for $295.87 million in revenue and $0.20 in per-share earnings.

Now what: Sales to industry grew faster (41% versus 30%), but as the largest segment of its business, sales to commercial aerospace clients Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Airbus provided the most important tailwind during the quarter.

CEO David Berges said in a statement that the fast start compelled him and the rest of the team to raise full-year earnings guidance to $0.95 to $1.05 a share from earlier estimates of $0.90 to $0.98 a share. Call it a surprising shot of growth for a company that, to date, Wall Street hadn’t expected much from.

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