Shares in Laboratory Corporation of America jumped more than 7 percent Thursday after the company reported a surge in earnings.

The company, which provides a wide variety of clinical and testing services, also forecast profits in the range between $4.74-$4.90 in 2008, based on growth in partnerships and a joint venture.

LabCorp (NYSE: LH) said profits for the fourth quarter increased to 98 cents per share, or $114 million, up from 81 cents, or $103.7 million, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time charges and restructuring expenses, earnings hit $1.04 per share, or $121.9 million. Analysts had forecast $1.01 per share in earnings, according to Thomson Financial.

Quarterly sales increased to $1 billion, up more than $101 million from a year earlier. Analysts expected $992.6 million.

For all of 2006, profits increased 11 percent to $476.8 million, or $3.93 a share.

The news sent LH shares up more than 7.5 percent, or $5.52 per share, to $78.93 in Thursday afternoon trading. The stock’s 52-week high is $82.32.