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Waste Management rebounds with 4Q profit, board OKs share repurchases of up to $1 billion

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HOUSTON — Waste Management Inc. swung to a fourth-quarter profit, benefiting from the sale of its waste-to-energy business. Its board also authorized a stock buyback program of up to $1 billion.

The stock rose 5 percent in Tuesday morning trading.

The garbage and recycling hauler earned $590 million, or $1.28 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. A year earlier it lost $605 million, or $1.29 per share.

Waste Management said that the current quarter included a gain on the sale of its waste-to-energy business.

Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, amounted to 67 cents per share. That surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 61 cents per share.

The Houston-based company posted revenue of $3.44 billion in the period, which was below Wall Street forecasts. Analysts expected $3.5 billion, according to Zacks.

For the year, the company reported profit of $1.3 billion, or $2.79 per share. Its adjusted profit was $2.48 per share. Revenue totaled $14 billion.

Waste Management expects 2015 adjusted earnings in the range of $2.48 to $2.55 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet predict $2.49 per share.

The shares gained $2.63, or 5.1 percent, to $53.92 in morning trading, its highest level in more than a decade.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on WM at http://www.zacks.com/ap/WM

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Keywords: Waste Management, Earnings Report

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