Shares of Procter & Gamble Co (PG 1.53%) were exploding higher today after the consumer products company posted a surprisingly strong first-quarter earnings report. P&G beat expectations on both its top and bottom lines, driving its biggest single-day share gain since 2008. As of 1:16 p.m. EDT, the stock was up 7.8%.
The parent of brands like Tide detergent and Gillette razors reported organic growth -- meaning unaffected by acquisitions or divestitures -- of 4%, its fastest quarterly growth in five years. Organic volume was higher in all five of its business segments, while organic sales increased in every one except for baby, feminine, and family care, where it fell 1%. Growth in its beauty segment was especially strong as organic sales increased by 7%, driven by super-premium brands like SK-II and and Olay Skin Care, both of which grew double digits, being helped by the Chinese market.
Overall revenue was essentially flat, up 0.2% to $16.69 billion as the company continues to shuffle its portfolio, but that beat analyst expectations at $16.5 billion. On the bottom line, adjusted earnings per share (EPS) increased 3% with the help of a lower tax rate to $1.12, ahead of estimates at $1.09. Currency-neutral adjusted earnings per share were up 11% to $1.21.
CEO David Taylor said, "Our focus on superiority, productivity, and improving P&G's organization and culture is driving improved results."
In response to the strong quarter, P&G said it would raise prices on a number of products, as gross margin actually fell in the quarter due in part to increased commodity costs. CFO Jon Moeller said the company would raise prices in the U.S. on products in home care, oral care, and personal care.
Looking ahead, management maintained its guidance for the full year, calling for organic sales growth of 2% to 3% and adjusted, or "core" as the company calls it, EPS growth of 3% to 8% from $4.22 last year.
After years of near flat growth, it's clear why investors are celebrating as sales growth is gaining traction, but the guidance indicates that the surge may not last.