and MICHELLE CHAPMAN
NEW YORK -- Procter & Gamble's fiscal third-quarter net income rose 2 percent as it cut costs to offset sluggish sales in categories like beauty and family products.
The world's largest consumer product maker's adjusted earnings topped analyst estimates, but revenue fell short. Investors were looking for stronger growth and shares fell slightly in morning trading.
Since CEO A.G. Lafley returned to the company in May, Procter & Gamble (PG) has focused on its most profitable markets and products and on introducing new products. It sold off most of its pet care business earlier this month for $2.9 billion.
"We're operating in a slow-growth, highly competitive environment, which places even greater importance on strong innovation and productivity improvement," Lafley said in a statement.
For the three months ended March 31, the maker of Tide detergent and Gillette razors earned $2.61 billion, or 90 cents a share. That compares with $2.57 billion, or 88 cents a share, last year.
Excluding restructuring charges and other items, earnings were $1.04 a share. Analysts forecast $1.02 a share, according to a FactSet survey.
Revenue totaled $20.56 billion, down slightly from last year's $20.6 billion on foreign currency fluctuations. Wall Street expected $20.68 billion.
P&G maintained guidance for a rise of 3 percent to 5 percent in full-year adjusted earnings.
Citi Investment Research analyst Wendy Nicholson said that the global marketplace is sluggish and intensely competitive, so Procter & Gamble's results are "pretty darned impressive."
The stock fell 67 cents to $79.94 in midday trading. The stock is flat for the year.