What happened

Clorox (NYSE:CLX) stock gained 10% through the first half of 2017, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally sent shares to new all-time highs by late June.

CLX Chart

CLX data by YCharts

So what

Investors cheered the company's fiscal second quarter report that in early February showed a 5% spike in sales growth thanks to record shipments of the company's disinfecting wipes. CEO Benno Dorer and his team took the opportunity to raise their full-year expansion outlook to between 3% and 4% from a previous range of 2% to 3%. The stock responded to the good news by rising over 14% that month.

A shopper chooses between cleaning brands.

Image source: Getty Images.

Clorox's next quarterly report kept the company right on track with its growth plans as a 7% spike in volume helped push overall sales higher by 4%. However, the consumer goods giant ramped up advertising spending and manufacturing costs, which drove gross margin down to 44% of sales from 45.3% a year ago.

Now what

Dorer and his team see the increased spending as simply a down payment on future growth. To that end, they are predicting expanding organic sales and adjusted profitability for the final quarter of their fiscal year.

Consensus estimates are targeting 3% sales growth and a 15% spike in earnings to $1.49 per share when Clorox announces its fourth-quarter operating results on Aug. 3. Besides the expanding top and bottom-line figures, investors will be looking for healthy cash flow to support the Dividend Aristocrat's growing dividend payout.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.