P&G's cost-cutting measures also boosted results. The company said a plan to cut 10 percent of its non-manufacturing workforce, or 5,700 jobs, by the end of the fiscal year is 95 percent complete — about four or five months ahead of schedule. The company also plans to cut 2 to 4 percent more jobs per year in fiscal 2014 to 2016.
"We remain confident that our focus areas ... are the right ones, and should generate over time the kind of earnings progress that will put us among the best in our industry," Moeller, P&G's CFO, said in the conference call.
During the fiscal second quarter, P&G earned $4.06 billion, or $1.39 per share, up from $1.69 billion, or 57 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding special items, it earned $1.22 per share. Revenue increased 2 percent to $22.18 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.11 per share on $21.86 billion in revenue.
Based on the better-than-expected results for the first half of the year, P&G said it expects fiscal 2013 core earnings of $3.97 to $4.07 per share on revenue growth of 1 percent to 2 percent. It previously predicted an adjusted profit of $3.80 to $4 on flat revenue growth to up to 1 percent. Analysts expect earnings of $3.97 per share.
On the news, P&G shares closed up $2.78, or nearly 4 percent, to $73.19, after reaching a 52-week high of $73.24.
Analysts had mixed reactions to the upbeat report. Wendy Nicholson, an analyst at Citi Investment Research, wrote in a note that P&G's strategy seems to be working.
"We are optimistic that this trend of improvement will continue, especially given that many of P&G's new product launches have just recently, or have yet to, hit the market," Nicholson wrote in the note.
Erin Lash, an analyst for Morningstar, was more cautious. She said that the cost-cutting moves P&G has put in place have boosted results, but the effect might be temporary.
"P&G is benefiting from their stepped up cost saving efforts," she said. "We can't deny those are gaining traction, but we question the sustainability of their efforts.
P&G's results come after its competitor Unilever on Wednesday reported that its full-year net income rose 5 percent, helped by higher prices and cutting costs.
The Dutch company, which makes consumer products such as Dove soaps and Magnum ice cream, recently has been outperforming its larger rival.