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Colgate-Palmolive meets Wall Street expectations

NEW YORK (AP) -- Colgate-Palmolive reported net income in line with Wall Street expectations as it sold more of its products and raised prices around the world.

But the company, which makes Speed Stick deodorant, Irish Spring soap and Ajax cleaners in addition to its toothpaste, said Thursday that the Venezuelan currency devaluation and restructuring costs hurt its results.

For the three months ended March 31, the company earned $460 million, or 97 cents per share. That's compared with $593 million, or $1.23 per share, a year ago.

A reduction in the number of outstanding shares boosted per-share results by 2 cents in the recent quarter. Excluding one-time items, net income was $1.32 per share, in line with analyst estimates.

Net sales rose 3 percent to $4.32 billion, above the $4.29 billion Wall Street expected.

In North America, sales rose 6 percent on higher volume and pricing. New product launches, including Colgate Optic White mouthwash and Irish Spring Deep Action Scrub bar soap, contributed to volume growth.

In Latin America, net sales rose 1 percent. Not including the impact of foreign currency exchange rates, organic sales rose 9 percent.

Sales in Europe and the South Pacific dipped a half a percent. Volume and pricing were even from last year, but results were hurt by the impact of foreign currency exchange rates.

Shares of Colgate-Palmolive Co., which closed at $117.90 Wednesday, gained $2.63, or 2.2 percent, to $120.50 in premarket trading.