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PepsiCo's net income flat from a year ago

(AP) NEW YORK - PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) says its first-quarter net income was flat from a year ago, as the food and beverage giant hiked prices to make up for rising commodity costs.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based company says it earned $1.13 billion, or 71 cents per share, in the three months ended March 24. That's compared with $1.14 billion, or 71 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Not including one-time items, the company says it earned 69 cents per share, which topped Wall Street expectations for 66 cents per share.

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Like many other food and beverage companies, PepsiCo is struggling to balance higher commodity costs without scaring off budget consumers with too many price hikes. The company says it raised prices in the latest quarter on the strength of its brands.

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