No, the headline for this story is not referring to diapers that have been, ahem ... used. Those diapers should be changed without delay. But when you're Kimberly-Clark
Specifically, that "something right" is a 10% sales increase for the third quarter, driven by 7% organic growth and a 3% foreign-exchange tailwind. For a consumer-products company, organic growth is the most reliable measure of sales momentum: more revenue dollars from existing products as compared to acquired brands (these companies tend to buy and sell brands regularly).
That 7% organic growth was mostly related to volume increases (5%), with pricing and product mix contributing the rest. Sales improvement was broad-based, in the high single digits in the U.S. and Europe, with a double-digit lift from developing and emerging markets.
Adjusted earnings (excluding strategic charges and litigation gains) were $1.07 per share, up more than 8% from the prior year, and slightly better than previous guidance of $1.04-$1.06. The sales pop, combined with cost reduction efforts, allowed Kimberly-Clark to fund additional marketing during the quarter.
Wall Street cheered the results, driving the stock up by more than $2 per share -- nearly 4%. This is welcome news to investors in the company, who haven't had much to get excited about over the past year. The stock is again trading above last year's levels, after a disappointing slide this past summer.
Over the past few quarters, I have argued consistently that consumer-products companies look like a stable investment choice in these uncertain times. While Kimberly-Clark may not have a recent track record as solid as consumer-products giants like Procter & Gamble
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Fool contributor Timothy M. Otte surveys the retail scene from Dallas. He welcomes comments on his articles, but doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.