, PARIS, August 1- Stock in the leading world cosmetics group L’Oreal slipped back in morning trading on the French stock market on Friday despite increased net profit in the first half of the year.
Shares in the French group were down 1.46 percent to 124.55 euros. The France CAC 40 index of leading shares was down 1.06 percent.
The group reported late on Thursday that first half net profit rose 1.5 percent from the figure at this time last year to 1.7 billion euros ($2.28 billion), pulled by its luxury products activities.
The group also raised its operating margin, a key measure of profitability by three percentage points to 18.2 percent a level it described as “historically” high.
Sales fell by 1.5 percent to 11.2 billion euros, although on a strictly comparable basis they rose by 3.8 percent.
But in the second quarter unfavourable exchange rates weighed again on sales, making them fall back 0.7 percent to 5.5 billion euros, while rising by 4.1 percent on a comparable basis.
L’Oreal said that unfavourable exchange rates had skimmed 3.5 percent from the value of sales expressed in euros.
Chief executive Jean Paul Agon said in a results statement that the economic and monetary enviroment was unsteady but he was “confident” that the group could outperform the market once again in 2014.
The group stood by its targets for the year, although it was basing this now on sales calculated at constant exchange rates.