BURLINGTON, N.C. – Laboratory Corporation, a provider of various medical test services, beat Wall Street expectations with a quarterly earnings report of 81 cents per share on Thursday.

The news, announced before the markets opened, helped drive LabCorp (NYSE: LH) shares up 7.5 percent, or $5.57, to close at $80.01.

Thomson Financial had projected earnings of 72 cents per share based on a survey of analysts.

LabCorp’s fourth-quarter earnings hit $103.7 million, up 16.6 percent from the same time period in 2005. net sales for the quarter were $898.6 million, up more than 9 percent from 2005.

For the year, LabCorp’s net revenues reached $431.6 million, up 11.8 percent from 2005, with overall sales reaching $3.59 billion, a 7.9 percent increase.