Consumers Are Alive and Shopping

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Procter & Gamble ( PG), maker of Pampers diapers and Tide detergent, and Colgate-Palmolive ( CL), which sells toothpaste and dish soap, are raising prices on products in a sign the global economy is stronger than some investors think.

Procter & Gamble and Colgate said separately today that third-quarter earnings benefited by demand in emerging markets, particularly in Latin America and Asia, though growth slowed. But developed nations, including the U.S., showed an improvement. In addition, cosmetics company Avon ( AVP) noted today that customers' average orders rose as October began.

Industrial and manufacturing companies said in the past week their North American operations posted faster revenue growth while countries such as China saw a slowdown. That trend was borne out by today's government report on gross domestic product, which revealed better-than-expected consumer spending.

A key component at P&G and Colgate is the companies' ability to pass on price increases to customers abroad to offset higher commodity costs. Prices in North America mostly fell, suggesting there's room for price hikes if demand stays firm. That may happen as the third-quarter GDP report said household purchases jumped.