Kimberly-Clark Corp posted higher fourth-quarter profit but fell short of analysts' expectations, as paper goods such as Cottonelle toilet paper remained under pressure while consumers choose cheaper items.

The maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers earned $492 million, or $1.17 per share, up from $419 million, or $1.01 per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose 8.4 percent to $4.98 billion, while the volume of goods sold rose about 2 percent. The acquisitions of I-Flow Corp and Jackson Safety added a point of sales growth.

Sales of healthcare products such as gloves and face masks jumped 22.1 percent, spurred by demand following the H1N1 flu pandemic.

Analysts, on average, expected Kimberly-Clark to earn $1.25 per share on sales of $4.92 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company forecast 2010 earnings of $4.80 to $5 per share, with sales up 5 percent to 6 percent and volume up 2 percent to 3 percent. Analysts had been anticipating a 2010 profit of $5.14 per share.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl; editing by John Wallace)