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Daimler jumped to the top of the Dax on Wednesday morning, after the Mercedes parent said first-quarter earnings were far above market forecasts.

The leader in luxury car sales said late on Tuesday that first quarter earnings before interest and taxes had climbed to €4.008bn, up 87 per cent from a year ago.

Mercedes-Benz car sales underpinned the strong numbers. Earnings for the unit were €2.234bn, up 60 per cent from a year ago.

Shares were up 2.3 per cent at publication time, to €68.18.

Daimler said last week that first quarter sales of Mercedes-Benz cars were up 16 per cent to 560,625 – its best quarter on record, thanks in part to the new E-Class Saloon. Profit margins were 9.8 per cent, well above the 7.0 per cent recorded a year earlier.

In 2016, Daimler had its best-ever annual sales, revenue and profit, managing to steal the luxury sales crown from Munich-based rival BMW.

Its results were published late Tuesday ahead of schedule because they were “significantly above market expectations.” Full quarterly results will be posted April 26.

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