NEW YORK — FedEx leaders contend people are being too pessimistic about a recovery in global trade, after the company reported Wednesday that strong exports from Asia and other international shipments drove its improved fourth-quarter results.
While concerns about European economies and their looming debt problems remain, FedEx said international shipments overall grew by 23 percent. Countries like India, China and Brazil in particular are driving the increase.
FedEx said the U.S. economy is steadily growing as well. Still, it has a conservative outlook for the next year, expecting rising costs as shipments pick up.
In the quarter that ended in May, FedEx earned $419 million, or $1.33 a share. It lost $876 million, or $2.82 a share a year earlier. Excluding a writedown on the value of assets and aircraft, earnings were 64 cents a share a year ago.
Revenue climbed 20 percent, to $9.43 billion. FedEx said international priority shipments jumped 24 percent in the period. Most of those shipments are high-tech, high-value goods like electronics and pharmaceuticals, which people want fast.
Average daily shipments in the company's Ground unit rose 7 percent. The Ground segment grew steadily during the recession as people switched to slower shipping methods to save money, and FedEx gained business as DHL retreated from the U.S. market.
The company's weak point remains its freight segment, which posted back-to-back losses. FedEx said the market still has too many trucks competing for a relatively small amount of freight, which is preventing it from raising prices. That segment ships things like refrigerators and other large appliances.
For the full fiscal year that ended in May, FedEx posted net income of $1.18 billion, or $3.76 a share, compared with $98 million, or 31 cents a share, in the previous fiscal year.
Revenue fell 2 percent, to $34.73 billion.