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L'Oreal shares shine after sales beat expectations

PARIS (Reuters) -Shares in L'Oreal rose 5% on Friday after the French cosmetics giant beat expectations with a strong rise in first quarter sales, allaying concerns about a slowdown in the United States.

L'Oreal shares were up 5.0% at 0745 GMT, the biggest gain since January 2023. The stock had lost 6% this year up to Thursday's close.

After the market close on Thursday, the world's biggest beauty company reported more than 12% sales growth in both North America and Europe, lifted by its mass market range and dermatological products, which helped to offset weakness in the luxury segment.

"A rock solid quarter, despite concerns," said analysts at Barclays. While L'Oreal acknowledged a slowdown in the United States, it "comfortably surprised to the upside," both in the U.S. and Europe, they said.

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The update from the French company boosted the broader sector, driving shares of U.S. peer Estee Lauder up by around 5% on Thursday and Coty by 3%.

"L'Oreal delivered a strong beat," Bernstein analysts wrote in a note to investors.

They said L'Oreal's ability to shift investments in advertising and promotions to different parts of the world and across categories and demographics, enabling it to optimise global growth and make it more resilient.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Dominique Patton and Mimosa Spencer, editing by Inti Landauro, Elaine Hardcastle and Barbara Lewis)