Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report reaffirmed second-quarter guidance late Wednesday, saying it expects shipment volume to hit the top end of its target range.

The Cincinnati-based home goods behemoth said it expects to post earnings of 71 to 72 cents a share for the quarter, on 6%-8% year-over-year sales growth. The company said it would see a slight foreign-exchange benefit for the period, offset by a slight decline in mix and pricing. Analysts had forecast earnings of 72 cents a share on sales of $14.1 billion, up 6.6% from a year earlier.

Procter & Gamble also said it expects fiscal 2005 earnings of around $2.60 a share, which is a penny ahead of the Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate. The company expects to post a 6%-9% fiscal year sales gain, driven by a 6%-8% rise in shipment volume "behind developing market momentum and strong innovations planned for the second half of the fiscal year." The company attributed the slightly stronger sales outlook to increased volume and a 1- to 2-point benefit from foreign exchange. Prior guidance assumed foreign exchange would be neutral.

P&G said its operating profit margin is expected to improve modestly for both the second quarter and fiscal year "despite continuing pressure on gross margins from rising commodity costs."

The comments come just a day after the company's toothpaste-peddling rival


(CL) - Get Report

rolled out a plan to slash more than 4,000 jobs in a continuing get-fit effort.

On Wednesday, P&G rose 99 cents to $55.03.