Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

said the recession isn't keeping people from buying its health and cosmetic products, and as a result it expects to top Wall Street earnings estimates for the quarter ending this month.

P&G said its core earnings will be 2 cents to 3 cents higher than current analyst estimates of $1 a share for the fiscal second quarter on a roughly 3% increase in sales and volume. Margins are also expected to rise as much as 1 percentage point from a year ago.

The Cincinnati consumer products giant said the higher-than-expected earnings are attributable to both the higher sales and volume, and the acceleration of nonoperating income, specifically the private placement of part of its stake in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, into the December quarter.

The company said it's seeing satisfactory volume improvements in all its regions, with "health care and beauty producing particularly strong results." The company said it remains comfortable with its previous guidance for fiscal 2002; currently, analysts are expecting earnings of $3.44 a share for the full fiscal year.