Colgate-Palmolive   (CL - Get Report) largely met expectations for its first quarter, while reporting strong growth in both volume and gross margin.

Volume for the total company grew 3.5% for the period, excluding the laundry detergent business based in Australasia, the New York-based personal care conglomerate sold.

Meanwhile, earnings per share of 59 cents met expectations, while revenue of $3.76 billion,  also fell close to estimates.

Organic net sales, excluding the laundry detergent business in Australasia and other items, rose 5%.

Investors are cheering the news, sending the stock up more than 3% as of mid-day trading to $71.54 per share.

Of some concern to analysts, participating in the earnings conference call held mid-morning to discuss the quarterly results, was declining market share in India and China, even with the increase in volume.

Ian Cook, Colgate's CEO, acknowledged on the call that market share for toothpaste in China, for example, has declined to 33% from roughly 34% the year prior.

The drop could be attributed to both its premium brand Colgate and its value brand.

Cook, however, said that the company is largely satisfied with its progress in both nations, noting that its key multi-national competitor over the years has seen market share decline by multiple percentage points.

Yet over the last eight years, Colgate has seen its overall market share increase in toothpaste in the two countries, Cook noted.

While competitor Procter & Gamble PG saw volumes drop across most of its categories, that was not the case at Colgate.

And not only were volumes broadly up, gross margin also improved.

Jason English, an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., on the earnings call said he was impressed both with volume growth and the increase in gross margin by 110 basis points.

In fact, Cook said on the call he now anticipates that Colgate, for the full year, will achieve gross margin improvement at the high end of their projected range of 75 to 125 basis points, perhaps even slightly above.

He said gross profit was up across all divisions except for pet food brand Hills, which was inflicted with a "commodity issue."

The toothpaste maker's vice president of investor relations Bina Thompson also pointed out at the beginning of the earnings call that increased pricing helped offset currency headwinds in particular.

But Cook said on the call that Colgate is shifting back to growth driven more by volume than by pricing, which was less of a factor this year than it was a year ago.

Meanwhile, Colgate will see growth in emerging markets in the mid-single digits, with categories growing on a local currency basis.

The company has voiced concern over markets such as Brazil in the past, where consumer sentiment has been negative.

Consumer sentiment in India is good, Cook said, while it is not "doom and gloom" in China.

As on most earnings call, a question on the company's plan for mergers and acquisitions, as well as divestitures surfaced.

Cook said the company actively keeps an eye out for acquisitions that could complement the company, and is aware of all available assets, declining to comment further.

He did say that Colgate does not foresee any further large-scale divestitures, after selling its laundry detergent business in the Australasia region.