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P&G Boosts Earnings Forecast

Procter & Gamble forecasts full-year earnings to be up 4% to 6% vs. a year ago.
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(Procter & Gamble earnings story updated with portfolio manager commentary and stock price movement.)
CINCINNATI (TheStreet) -- Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report said it expects full-year earnings to be up 4% to 6% from a year earlier on strengthening top-line results and robust cost and productivity efforts.

For the full year, P&G predicted core earnings of $3.62 to $3.68 a share, up from $3.53 to $3.63. P&G said it raised the low end of its guidance range for net earnings by 4 cents a share to a range of $4.06 to $4.12. Analysts are targeting earnings of $4.14 a share.

Guidance for the April-to-June quarter was earnings of 68 cents to 74 cents a share, compared with the Wall Street average estimate of 76 cents.

"Procter & Gamble's guidance for its fourth quarter 2010 is a little confusing," Trinity Asset Management portfolio manager and



Brian Gilmartin wrote in his column Thursday.

"Management said on the conference call that the company has tempered fourth-quarter 2010 expectations in the past, but the estimate data have yet to reflect it."

For the January-to-March quarter, the company's fiscal third quarter, P&G reported that earnings declined 1% to 83 cents share compared with the previous year, as the loss of contribution from discontinued operations divested in prior periods was mostly offset by the increase in earnings from continuing operations. Excluding certain items, earnings were up 10% at 89 cents a share, exceeding the average estimate of 82 cents a share.

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Net sales increased 7% to $19.2 billion, amid the company's fastest rate of organic volume growth in 18 quarters. The sales growth was helped by double-digit growth in developing regions.

During the quarter, the company launched "key initiatives" such as Pampers Dry Max, Crest 3D White and Olay Pro-X Firming in North America; Always Simply Fit and Pampers Underjams in Western Europe; Naturella, Olay for Men and Olay Natural White in Asia; and Oral-B Pro Health toothpaste in Latin America.

P&G has fallen 2.3% to $61.74 less than three hours into Thursday's regular trading session. It's been one of the biggest losers on the S&P 500 index this morning.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


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