Kellogg, P&G and Ralston Purina Co. Release Quarterly Earnings

Several major consumer packaged goods companies reported earnings today. Among them:
* No. 2 U.S. cereal maker Kellogg Co. reported net earnings for the quarter at $150.3 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with $181.9 million, or 45 cents per share, during the same period last year, Reuters reported. Excluding the cost impact of integrating cookie and cracker maker Keebler, earnings per share were 40 cents.

* Procter & Gamble beat analysts' projections, but quarterly earnings fell 4 percent, reflecting the period when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks temporarily slowed retail sales, Reuters reported. The consumer products giant said it earned $1.10 billion, or 79 cents a share, for its first fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $1.16 billion, or 82 cents a share, a year earlier. The company's pending acquisition of the Clairol hair-care products line and its spinoff of the Jif peanut butter and Crisco cooking oil brands to J.M. Smucker Co. will reduce core earnings per share by 4 cents, the company said.

* Pet food giant Ralston Purina Co. reported that fiscal fourth-quarter earnings before items rose 17 percent, driven by firm sales volumes in its main pet foods segment, Reuters reported. Ralston, which agreed in January to be bought by Swiss-based Nestle SA, reported earnings before items of $93.2 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with $79.8 million, or 28 cents, a year ago
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