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Estee Lauder 1Q profit tops Street; hikes dividend

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October 31, 2013 10:23 AM EST | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — Estee Lauder said Thursday that its fiscal first-quarter net income rose slightly, aided by strong sales of its luxury and Mac brands as well as growth online, in travel retail and in emerging markets. Its profit topped analysts' expectations.

The beauty products company, whose brands also include Clinique, Bobbi Brown and its namesake, raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast and increased its quarterly dividend.

Shares rose, briefly hitting an all-time high in morning trading.

Estee Lauder Cos. earned $300.7 million, or 76 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That's up from $299.5 million, or 76 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts expected earnings of 73 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

The stock gained 98 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $72.36 in morning trading after rising as high as $74.62 earlier, an all-time high.

Revenue increased 5 percent to $2.68 billion from $2.55 billion. Wall Street forecast $2.69 billion.

Hair care sales climbed 10 percent to $124.8 million. Sales of fragrances, makeup and skincare also improved.

By region, sales increased 8 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Asia Pacific sales rose 7 percent, while sales for the Americas edged up 2 percent.

Estee Lauder now foresees full-year earnings of $2.80 to $2.87 per share. Previously, the company predicted earnings between $2.74 and $2.87 per share. It still forecasts revenue growth of 6 percent to 8 percent. Analysts expect full-year earnings of $2.88 per share.

For the second quarter, Estee Lauder anticipates earnings in a range of 99 cents to $1.04 per share, with revenue up 3 percent to 5 percent. Wall Street forecasts earnings of $1.21 per share.

The company also boosted its quarterly dividend 11 percent to 20 cents per share from 18 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Dec. 16 to shareholders of record on Nov. 29.