* Q1 EPS $0.55 vs est $0.56
* Q1 net operating expenses down 14 pct
* Q1 avg daily production sales up 18 pct to 255 mmcfe/day
April 30 (Reuters) - Equitable Resources Inc (EQT.N) reported a first-quarter profit that fell shorts of analysts' expectations by a penny, but saw an 18 percent rise in average daily production sales.
For the quarter, the company reported net income of $72 million, or 55 cents a share, compared with $70.5 million, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier.
EQT recorded a $13.1 million gain from its production hedges during the quarter and said about 65 percent of its production sales volumes were hedged for 2009.
Total operating expenses also dropped 14 percent to $124.3 million.
Net operating revenue fell marginally to $260.4 million, hurt by a $48 million negative commodity price impact, which was partially offset by an increase in higher sales volumes.
Shares of the company closed at $35.78 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
For the alerts, double-click [ID:nWNAB0961] (Reporting by Shradhha Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)