The coronavirus pandemic is having mixed effects for Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG). The company is home to some of the most popular consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands globally, including Tide, Crest, Pantene, Gillette, Charmin, and Pampers, to name just a few.

Due to COVID-19, sales are increasing for products that help with health, hygiene, and home cleaning. Who can forget the fights breaking out at local stores over toilet paper earlier this year? At the same time, revenue is decreasing for personal grooming products, where the company has a large market share. You don't need to shave as often if you are working from home.

The company generates sales from 180 countries, and the coronavirus pandemic is catalyzing varying degrees of benefits and damage in each region. When the company reports results on Oct. 20, here are three things to keep an eye on. 

A person cleaning a surface with a spray bottle and cloth.

P&G is expecting revenue growth to continue. Image source: Getty Images.

People staying home are using P&G's products around the house 

To begin with, investors should look at overall revenue growth. The company expects to grow revenue in the low-single-digit range for fiscal 2021. It will be an indicator for the year to come if the P&G reports revenue growth above that rate to start the year. Additionally, if the sales figure is significantly ahead of or below the yearly forecasted rate, look for management to update revenue growth expectations.

The second and perhaps most important metric shareholders will want to zero in on is earnings growth. Companies ranging from Amazon to Home Depot report increasing costs associated with operating during a pandemic. Understandably, employees who are asked to come into work physically are hesitant and concerned for their safety. Businesses are finding out that they need to pay incentives and bonuses to maintain sufficient staffing levels. 

Lastly, those following the stock will want to look at how much Procter & Gamble spent on share repurchases. The company announced that it expects to purchase between $6 billion and $8 billion of its shares in fiscal 2021. The midpoint of the range would be slightly below the $7.4 billion in shares it repurchased in fiscal 2020. Overall, the company expects to return over $15 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks in 2021. If P&G reports share repurchases in the current quarter that are above a $7 billion annual rate, it could indicate that management believes its shares are undervalued.

A woman wearing a mask cleans a television set.

P&G is planning on repurchasing roughly $7 billion worth of its own shares in fiscal 2021. Image source: Getty Images.

The coronavirus pandemic will affect shopping behavior in the near term 

Consumer behavioral changes will be important in determining results in the near term. When stay-at-home orders were first issued, people started stocking up supplies in preparation for hunkering down and making fewer trips to stores. Panic buying has been alleviated to some degree as people feel more secure and local governments are allowing for more movement. That being said, shopping for essentials remains elevated. 

Diversification in the company's portfolio of products helps to insulate it from the coronavirus's negative effects. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, Procter & Gamble expects to grow earnings by 8% in fiscal 2021. Analysts following this consumer staples stock expect earnings of $1.41 for the quarter and overall revenue of $18.3 billion when the company reports on Oct. 20. If P&G issues better than expected earnings and raises its fiscal 2021 guidance, look for shares to pop after the report.

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