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Church & Dwight's 1st-quarter net income rises

EWING, N.J. (AP) -- Church & Dwight Co., which makes consumer products including Arm & Hammer and other cleaning products, said Thursday that its first-quarter net income rose 12 percent because of cost-cutting and strong sales in the U.S.

Still, the company reiterated a financial outlook that came in slightly short of analyst expectations, and CEO James Craigie said consumer spending remains a question mark.

"Consumer spending and growth in many categories is expected to remain weak due to consumer uncertainty," he said. But he added that premium products, new products and "aggressive" cost-cutting will help the company.

Net income for the three months that ended March 31 rose 12 percent to $107.7 million, or 76 cents per share. That compares with net income of $95.8 million, or 66 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts expected 72 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $779.3 million from $690.6 million last year. Analysts expected revenue of $775.8 million.

In the U.S., revenue from consumer products rose 16 percent to $591 million, as stronger sales of Arm & Hammer liquid and unit does laundry detergent and Oxiclean laundry additives were offset by weaker sales of powdered laundry detergent and Kaboom cleaners.

International revenue from consumer products rose 7 percent to $129.3 million.

The company also reiterated its full-year outlook for earnings of $2.79 per share. Analysts expect $2.81 per share.

Citi Investment Research analyst Wendy Nicholson said sales growth excluding acquisitions appears to be slowing, but that is consistent with industry trends.

"While organic sales and volume were less than what we are used to seeing at Church & Dwight, the results are not unlike other companies in the space that have reported so far," she said and reiterated her "Neutral" rating on the stock.

Shares rose 91 cents to $63.81 during morning trading.