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Earnings preview: Procter & Gamble 3Q results

NEW YORK (AP) -- Procter & Gamble Co.'s fiscal third-quarter earnings should be boosted by benefits from its cost-saving program and its plan to focus on its top regions and new products, analysts say.

Analysts expect the world's largest consumer product maker to report slightly higher net income and revenue for the January-to-March period before the market opens on Wednesday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Cincinnati-based company, whose products range from Tide detergent to Crest toothpaste and Gillette razors, is facing a weakened European economy and slowdown in growth in China. It is expected to offset that by gaining market share in North America, and benefits from its $10 billion cost cutting program.

Stifel analyst Mark Astrachan said he expects the company to report higher net income in the quarter, mainly due to the cost cutting program and accelerated sales growth.

Last year, P&G admitted missteps in some emerging markets — which make up nearly 40 percent of its sales — when it expanded in certain product areas too fast. But it then introduced a plan to focus on its 20 biggest new products and its 10 most profitable emerging market regions in an effort to gain more market share.

That plan has begun to pay off. In the fiscal second quarter, P&G said it held or grew market share in business representing almost 50 percent of sales during the quarter, with growth in both developed and emerging markets.

WHY IT MATTERS: P&G's well-known products appeal to people at many income levels around the world, so the company's performance hints at how willing and able people are to spend.

Its status at the top of the consumer-goods hierarchy also means P&G's strategy can be a bellwether for the rest of the industry.

EXPECTATIONS: Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, expect P&G to report earnings of 96 cents per share on revenue of $20.72 billion for the first three months of the year.

LAST YEAR: In the same period a year ago, P&G earned 82 cents per share, or 94 cents per share per share excluding one-time items, on revenue of $20.19 billion.