NEW YORK (AP) _ Colgate-Palmolive Co. posted a 10 percent increase in its profit for the fourth quarter, citing higher sales gains led by an increase in the United States.

The results beat Wall Street estimates and the company's shares were up 46 cents at $60.54 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The maker of Colgate toothpaste, Irish Spring soap, Ajax cleanser and Mennen deodorant earned $286.7 million, or 46 cents a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 compared with $260.6 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial expected earnings of 45 cents a share.

Revenue rose to $2.4 billion from $2.3 billion a year earlier.

The company said new products helped fuel an 11 percent increase in sales in the United States, particularly in toothpaste, toothbrushes, dishwashing liquid and body care.

Sales rose 8 percent in Latin America, but the strong dollar resulted in sales declines of 8 percent in Europe and 2 percent in the Africa-Asia division.

For the year, Colgate-Palmolive earned $1.06 billion, or $1.70 a share, up from $937 million, or $1.47 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $9.4 billion from $9.1 billion.


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