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Estee Lauder Companies Inc.   (EL - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Wednesday, and lifted its full-year earnings guidance, as solid Asia revenues continue to drive its bottom line.

Estee Lauder said diluted earnings for the three months ending in March, the company's fiscal third quarter, came in at $1.51 per share, up more than 52% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.30 per share. Group sales, Estee Lauder said, were also ahead of analysts' forecasts, rising 11% to $3.74 billion.

Looking into 2019, Estee Lauder said it sees adjusted earnings in the region of $5.15 to $5.19 per share, up from its February forecast of of $4.92 to $5.00, with net reported sales growth of between 7% and 8% from last year.

"We delivered terrific performance in our fiscal third quarter, driven by strategic investments in our best opportunities combined with creativity and data-driven insights that fueled exciting innovation, said CEO Fabrizio Freda. "These drivers strengthened loyalty to our brands and hero franchises and attracted new consumers globally. Our strongest growth engines were the Asia/Pacific region, the skin care category, our Estée Lauder, La Mer and Tom Ford Beauty brands, and travel retail and global online channels."

"Long term, we are uniquely positioned in one of the most attractive consumer sectors and are oriented to the fastest growing areas," he added. "Favorable demographic trends make prestige beauty a desirable, growing industry, and as the best diversified pure play, we are confident in our ability to lead and to gain global share."

Estee Lauder shares were marked 2.6% higher at the start of trading following the earnings release to change hands $176.28 per share, move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 35.5%.