Procter & Gamble ( PG) is trending as the consumer products company posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by price increases and the sale of its snacks business. P&G said it earned $3.63 billion, or $1.24 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $2.51 billion, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier. Profit excluding items was 82 cents a share, compared with analysts' estimates of 77 cents. P&G said price increases added 4% or more to net sales growth in the quarter, while the sale of its snacks business added a net gain of 48 cents a share. The company also said it would repurchase $4 billion worth of its shares this fiscal year, despite indicating in June that it did not plan to do so.
Tobacco is another popular search upon a recent report indicating that sales of tobacco to minors reached an all-time low in 2011. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 8.5% of retailers broke the law by selling tobacco to minors in the last fiscal year, down from about 40% in 1997. The level is the lowest ever tracked under the Synar Amendment program. Under the Synar Amendment, all states must have laws and enforcement programs to bar the sale and distribution of tobacco products to minors and every state must document that the rate of tobacco sales to minors is no more than 20%. The last fiscal year was the sixth year in a row that no state reported a rate above 20%. Nevada had the lowest rate of sales of tobacco to minors at 1.1%, while Oregon had the highest at 19.3%. The administration said 12 states had a violation rate below 5%.