Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) yesterday reported diluted earnings per share of $.47 for the first quarter ended October 29, 2000, versus $.54 in the same period last year. Net sales in the quarter increased 1 percent to $1.8 billion, a 4 percent increase before the impact of divestitures and currency. Net earnings declined 13 percent to $204 million compared to $235 million a year earlier. This earnings performance was largely driven by the company's decision to significantly increase marketing spending on its U.S. soup business and Pepperidge Farm.David W. Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Campbell's sales comeback is being driven by soup. First quarter global soup volume is up 4 percent. In the U.S., where our share of the wet soup market is over 70 percent, consumption is up 3 percent. This reflects an increased advertising investment on U.S. soup of 14 percent. Our commitment is to win first and foremost with the consumer." The company also reported: