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By Jessica Toonkel
April 28 (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp on Friday reported higher than expected first-quarter earnings and revenue and reaffirmed its full-year outlook as it saw improved results across each of its businesses.
Sales in the company's Financial & Risk division, which accounted for more than half of company revenue, outpaced cancellations, a key indicator of future growth, driven by sales in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
"If you look at what's happening in financial markets in general, there has been a reflection of more optimism than there was at this time last year," said Jim Smith, president and chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters, in an interview with Reuters on Friday.
"While folks are still unsettled about the exact details of what's to come, I think people are encouraged that the opportunity for change might well create favorable conditions."
The news and information company beat Wall Street's expectations as a result of its multi-year plan to simplify its business and focus primarily on organic growth, Smith said.
"We don't see any reason, based on what we are seeing in Q1, that these trends don't continue throughout the year," Smith said.
Thomson Reuters, the parent of Reuters News, competes for financial customers with Bloomberg LP, as well as News Corp's Dow Jones unit. The company's focus is on four main categories: risk management, global tax solutions, electronic data solutions and legal solutions.
Thomson Reuters shares were up 3.5 percent in New York trading, and by a similar amount on the Toronto Exchange.
While the numbers are heartening, it remains to be seen if Thomson Reuters will be able to grow beyond keeping costs low, said Doug Arthur, managing director at Huber Research Partners LLC.
"They are slowly moving toward a growth story on a lower cost basis," he said. "Do I look at these numbers and say 'victory?' not quite yet."
Thomson Reuters' first-quarter net earnings were $314 million or 41 cents per share, up from $272 million or 34 cents per share a year ago.
Adjusted for special items, earnings were 63 cents per share, beating estimates by 10 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue increased 1 percent when currency changes were factored in to $2.82 billion from a year earlier, also ahead of estimates.
The company reaffirmed its forecast for the year of a low-single digit sales increase.
Its biggest segment, Financial & Risk, which provides news and analytics to financial services companies, saw revenue of $1.5 billion, up 1 percent.
Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Nick Zieminski