Avon

(AVP) - Get Report

met Wall Street's slightly lowered estimates today by reporting fourth-quarter earnings that rose 12% from the year-ago figure.

In the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the cosmetics company earned $159.3 million, or 65 cents a share, excluding one-time items, meeting the consensus estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. In the same period one year ago, Avon earned $141.7 million, or 58 cents a share.

Avon, which is based in New York, also posted fourth-quarter sales of $1.65 billion, up from $1.57 billion in last year's fourth quarter. The company expects earnings of $2.10 to $2.12 a share for fiscal 2001. The consensus estimate is $2.10. Avon earned $1.88 for 2000.

Shares of Avon lost $1.69, or 3.9%, to $42 in recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading.