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Estee Lauder 2Q profit up 18 pct, raises outlook

NEW YORK (AP) -- Estee Lauder's net income rose 13 percent in its latest quarter as shoppers in the U.S. and emerging markets, particularly China, purchased more of its beauty products.

Results for Estee Lauder's fiscal second quarter beat analysts' average estimate, and the company lifted its forecast for the year on Tuesday.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Estee Lauder Cos. earned $447.5 million, or $1.13 per share. That's up from $396.7 million, or $1 per share, a year earlier.

Taking out charges for marking down the value of inventory and other restructuring costs, earnings were $1.16 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.05 per share.

Profit from sales of skin care products, the company's largest division by revenue, rose 14 percent, as the company said it gained share in some countries. Earnings from makeup sales rose 9 percent.

Revenue climbed 7 percent to $2.93 billion from $2.74 billion, as growing sales in the U.S. and Asia helped offset by declines in European countries like Spain and Germany. Wall Street predicted $2.9 billion.

Sales grew 6 percent in the Americas, 6 percent in the region made up of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 11 percent in Asia.

The company also got a boost from a pickup in orders from retailers before a planned rollout of new software, with about $94 million in sales occurring in the October-December period rather than the current quarter.

The New York company, which owns brands including MAC, Bobbi Brown and its namesake, now expects profit for 2013 of between $2.51 and $2.59 per share, excluding one-time items, up from a previous forecast of $2.47 to $2.56 per share.

Analysts predicted earnings of $2.57 per share for the year ending in June.

The company's forecast for the current quarter fell short of Wall Street's prediction, but Estee Lauder said that comparisons were difficult because of the impact of the technology rollout, which shifted sales to the second quarter.

For the third quarter, Estee Lauder anticipates adjusted earnings of 28 cents to 32 cents per share on revenue of $2.32 billion to $2.34 billion. Wall Street forecast profit of 47 cents per share on revenue of $2.39 billion.

Estee Launder's stock climbed $2.75, or 4.5 percent, to $63.80 in morning trading.