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Shares of Unilever PLC (LON: ULVR) jumped more than 8% on Thursday after the Anglo-Dutch giant reported a surge in its net earnings by 10% in the first half of the year. 

The food and cosmetics giant recorded 25.7 billion euros in sales, which is a decrease of 1.6% compared to the last year. Still, the net earnings rose by 10%. Unilever, the owner of brands such as Knorr, Magnum, Hellmann, and Dove, recorded strong sales in the United States, its biggest market. 

Analysts expected a much sharper drop in sales for the April – June quarter due to the lockdown measures. However, Unilever said its sales dropped “only” 0.3% in this period while the market analysts expected a drop of 4.3%.

“Performance during the first half has shown the true strength of Unilever. We have demonstrated the resilience of the business – in our portfolio, in a continued step-up in operational excellence, and in our financial position – and we have unlocked new levels of agility in responding to unprecedented fluctuations in demand,” said Alan Jope, Unilever’s CEO.

The beauty and personal care business, Unilever’s largest, saw a plunge in the demand for cosmetic products. However, the pandemic facilitated strong sales of the skin-cleansing products, with sales rising 27% in this segment.

“Overall, Unilever's strong performance in the period and an increasingly focused strategy has led to a sigh of overdue relief from investors,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investors.

Unilever share price soars on higher net earnings July 2020

Unilever share price jumped more than 8% to trade above 4700p for the first time since February this year. 

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