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3M profit tops Wall Street estimates

By Nick Zieminski

(Reuters) - 3M Co reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday as demand from industrial and transport markets offset weak sales to makers of consumer electronics.

The maker of Post-It notes, Scotch tape and components for consumer electronics reported net earnings of $954 million, or $1.35 per share, compared with $928 million, or $1.28 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.31 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 6 percent to $7.1 billion, matching Wall Street estimates. 3M's industrial and transportation segment sales jumped 14 percent, reflecting healthy auto, aerospace and energy markets, among others, as well as acquisitions. Sales at 3M segments that make office supplies and health and safety also rose.

Revenue fell, however, in the display and graphics segment, hurt by what 3M called "deteriorating" demand for consumer electronics. Its electro and communications also posted lower sales.

Minneapolis-based 3M affirmed its forecast of 2012 earnings between $6.25 and $6.50 per share, saying it would focus on its bottom line in the near-term in a slower growth environment .

3M has said acquisitions would boost this year's results. This month, it moved to expand its office supply business with the $550 million cash purchase of Avery Dennison Corp's office and consumer products unit, which includes Avery labels and HI-LITERS markers.

(Reporting By Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Derek Caney)