Why Procter & Gamble Stock Is Trouncing the Dow

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is flat in afternoon trading after two days of losses. As of 1:20 p.m. EDT the Dow is down a negligible two points to 15,292. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is down 0.19% points to 1,647. Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) stock is up big today after the company announced that it is bringing back former CEO A. G. Lafley.

There was one U.S. economic release today.

Report

Period

Result

Previous

Durable-goods-orders

April

3.3%

(5.9%)

Ex-transportation durable-goods orders

April

1.3%

(1.7%)

The Department of Commerce reported that durable-goods orders grew 3.3% in April, beating both analyst expectations of 1.4% growth and March's 5.9% decline. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, durable-goods orders were up just 1.3% -- still better than March's 1.7% decline.

US Durable Goods New Orders Chart

US Durable Goods New Orders data by YCharts.

The market is overlooking the positive report and continuing the decline that started Wednesday when the market began to fear that the Federal Reserve would wind down its quantitative-easing program.

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is Procter & Gamble, up 4.1% after announcing that chairman and CEO Bob McDonald will be immediately replaced by legendary former CEO A. G. Lafley. This is a win for activist investor Bill Ackman, who had been pushing for change at the company and pitched Procter & Gamble stock at the Ira Sohn Conference earlier this month.

Ackman and analysts have criticized McDonald as the company has underperformed its competitors since he took the reins. Ackman also specifically criticized McDonald for being unable to focus due to sitting on 21 other boards of directors when he took the job.

PG Total Return Price Chart

PG Total Return Price data by YCharts.

The underperformance, though, has led the stock to become undervalued. At the conference, Ackman announced that he believes the stock is worth as much as $125. He went on to add, "We think this is one of the great businesses of the world, underearning relative to its instrinsic earning power." He pointed out that Procter & Gamble gets nearly 40% of its sales from emerging markets. Fool analyst Morgan Housel also recently pointed this out after he read through the company's annual report, concluding that Procter & Gamble would be a complete mess without its international exposure.

We will have to wait and see whether A. G. Lafley can turn around the company's performance. P&G has more than 25 billion-dollar brands and is the market leader in many of its categories. The company suffers from a high cost structure that management should be able to fix.

International exposure
Procter & Gamble isn't the only American company doing well in emerging markets. Profiting from our increasingly global economy can be as easy as investing in the U.S. of A. The Motley Fool's free report "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World" shows you how. Click here to get your free copy before it's gone.


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