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Natura Rises to Record on Earnings, Unemployment Drop

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Natura Cosmeticos SA, Brazil’s largest cosmetics maker, rose to a record in Sao Paulo trading after third-quarter profit beat forecasts and unemployment fell to a record low.

Natura gained 3.4 percent to 49.10 reais at the 4 p.m. New York time close. The benchmark Bovespa slipped 1.1 percent.

The company had net income of 191.7 million reais ($113 million), according to a filing yesterday. While this was little changed from a year earlier, it surpassed the average estimate of 187.4 million reais in a Bloomberg survey of eight analysts. Sales rose 22 percent to 1.28 billion reais. That, coupled with a stronger currency that made imports cheaper, compensated for a jump in costs, said Daniela Bretthauer, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in Sao Paulo.

“What positively surprised us is that, despite tough comps, Natura’s sales rep count continues to grow at a fast pace while its sales rep productivity remains positive,” Bretthauer wrote in a note to clients today. She rates the stock “market perform.”

Brazil’s unemployment rate fell to a record low 6.2 percent in September, the national statistics agency said today.

A drop in the jobless rate, an increase in Brazilian workers’ average income and higher consumer confidence boosted Natura’s sales, Banco Fator Corretora analysts Renato Prado and Ronaldo Kasinsky wrote in an Oct. 18 note. They recommend buying the stock.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alexander Cuadros in Sao Paulo at acuadros@bloomberg.net; Fabiola Moura at fdemoura@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos in New York at papadopoulous@bloomberg.net

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