Procter & Gamble Co.  (PG) - Get Report exceeded Wall Street's earnings expectations on Tuesday, Jan. 23, reporting fiscal second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.19 a share vs. forecasts of $1.14, while total revenue in the period was on par with predictions of $17.4 billion, reflecting 3% growth year over year.

The earnings beat can be partially attributed to the tax cut legislation signed into law late last year, the company said. In the quarter, it returned a total of $3.6 billion to shareholders, including $1.8 billion in dividends and $1.8 billion in stock buybacks.

"We accelerated organic sales growth and delivered strong productivity cost savings and cash flow," CEO and Chairman David Taylor said in a statement. "We remain on track to achieve our fiscal year objectives."

The stock fell 2.8% on Tuesday.

Within the 3% growth in net sales, the strongest sector for P&G was beauty, which rose 10% year over year. The segment includes brands like Olay and Herbal Essences. Healthcare, which encompasses the likes of Pepto-Bismol and Prilosec, posted a sales increase of 7%, the second-fastest growing category.

Grooming and family care both saw a dip of 1%.

For the quarter as well as fiscal 2018, P&G will get a net benefit of $135 million from the tax cuts. That figure will rise in future years as the 21% corporate tax rate is fully phased in, the company said.

The activist investor Nelson Peltz will join the 13-person board in March. This follows a contentious year-long battle with him. Peltz' top priority is restructuring the business into three global units from the four it has now to eliminate what Peltz has characterized as the company's "suffocating bureaucracy." 

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