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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: April showers bring strong earnings

April 27, 2010

coke1Check out the latest wave of strong quarterly earnings from the consumer world.

Under Armour, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Estee Lauder, Ford Motor, Energizer Holdings and Group 1 Automotive were among the consumer-focused companies reporting stronger-than-expected profits, supporting the view that a corner has been turned in the economy.

Athletic clothing and shoe maker Under Armour posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit fueled by strong apparel and online sales, and raised its earnings outlook for the full year. The largest bottler of Coke beverages, Coca-Cola Enterprises, with growth in European markets, did the same.

Estee Lauder, the maker of Clinique, M.A.C. and other cosmetics, saw its profit more than double as women treated themselves to small luxuries such as new skin creams. It also raised its full-year outlook.

Ford posted a big profit as North American sales picked up and raised its 2010 outlook to “solidly profitable.”  The U.S. automaker cited market share and pricing gains and also raised its second-quarter North American production plan.

Energizer, which makes batteries, Schick razors and Playtex tampons, reported stronger-than-expected earnings but its sales came in below analysts’ forecasts as the battery market remained challenging.

Group 1 Automotive, the No. 4 U.S. dealership group, beat expectations as auto sales rebounded from last year’s slide.

Meanwhile, Fortune Brands, which makes Jim Beam bourbon, Moen faucets and Titleist golf balls, couldn’t wait two days to tell investors that its first quarter was better than expected. As a result, it also raised the low end of its full-year outlook.

Also giving investors hope of a brighter tomorrow, U.S. home prices posted their first annual increase in more than three years.

But not every cloud had a silver lining: Results from office supplies retailer Office Depot and U.S. auto dealer Sonic Automotive disappointed.

Also in the basket:

Ecolab profit beats estimates

Electrolux sees better demand as Q1 beats forecast

Reckitt Q1 beats forecasts, shares lose shine

ADP quarterly profit flat as unemployment hurts

(Reuters photo)

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