Why Procter & Gamble Could Move the Dow Tomorrow

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has held onto this morning's solid gains, rising 85 points as of 11:25 a.m. EDT as many investors pointed to gains in Chinese manufacturing activity as a sign of broader strength in the global economy. Yet Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) shows signs of investor anxiety, falling slightly as investors wait for its quarterly earnings report tomorrow morning. Consumer-products rivals Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB  ) and Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL  ) have already reported their third-quarter results, and P&G will have to work hard to keep up with its smaller rivals in the space.

Procter & Gamble will release its results before the market opens tomorrow. It released its previous quarterly release at 7 a.m. EDT. P&G will also hold an early conference call, scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Investors expect Procter & Gamble's earnings to fall slightly from year-ago levels, with relatively flat revenue reflecting continued softness in the consumer goods market. Adverse currency impacts have taken their toll on P&G's peers, with Kimberly-Clark reporting a $25 million impact to operating profit from a strong dollar and Colgate-Palmolive reporting a 4.5% negative revenue impact from foreign exchange. Yet unit volume growth and some positive pricing impacts pushed Colgate's overall revenue up 1.5%, and Kimberly-Clark boosted its organic sales by 5% despite seeing overall flat year-over-year revenue.

P&G's growth is most likely to come internationally, especially from emerging markets. Kimberly-Clark saw sales volumes rise 7% in its K-C International segment versus just 2% domestically. Similarly, Colgate-Palmolive grew Latin America unit volume by 5.5% and Asia unit volume by 11%, although currency impacts played a huge role in reducing overall revenue there. With both Colgate and Kimberly-Clark pushing hard to find growth in emerging markets, Procter & Gamble needs to post strong results there to keep pace.

Watch the valuation
One last thing for investors to keep in mind is that Procter & Gamble's current earnings multiple is relatively high. That's not a typical situation for P&G, but it suggests the company needs to produce impressive results to keep investors happy. Otherwise, a drop in Procter & Gamble's stock could send the entire Dow reeling tomorrow.

One thing that has helped Procter & Gamble hold up during tough years is its dividend. But it's far from the only Dow stock that treats investors right with solid payouts. To get some more long-term investing ideas, look at The Motley Fool's special report, "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." It's absolutely free, so simply click here now and get your copy today.


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