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Procter & Gamble Stock Nears New All-Time Highs as Earnings Crush Estimates

By Joe Tenebruso - Updated Oct 23, 2019 at 7:14PM

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The consumer goods titan is growing at an impressive clip, and investors are reaping the rewards.

Procter & Gamble (PG -0.23%) is on a roll. The consumer staples giant's shares are up more than 34% so far in 2019 following a string of strong earnings reports. And with the company delivering fiscal 2020 first-quarter results on Tuesday that were well above Wall Street's expectations, it looks like plenty more gains could lie ahead for investors.

P&G's first-quarter revenue rose 7% year over year to $17.8 billion, besting analysts' estimates for revenue of $17.4 billion. 

The company's sales gains were broad-based. P&G's beauty, healthcare, and fabric & home care segments delivered organic sales growth -- which excludes the impact of foreign exchange, acquisitions, and divestitures -- of 10%, 9%, and 8%, respectively.

That strong growth was partially offset by tepid results in P&G's grooming segment. The division saw organic sales rise only 1%, as its Gillette men's grooming business continues to struggle with competition from the likes of Dollar Shave Club and Harry's.

Still, on a companywide basis, P&G's organic sales rose an impressive 7%, including a 4% rise in volume. Higher prices and favorable product mix contributed the remainder of the gains.

A person holding an upwardly sloping digital chart.

Procter & Gamble delivered robust sales growth in the first quarter. Image source: Getty Images.

During a conference call with analysts, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller credited P&G's brand investments with helping to drive growth.

"We made a deliberate choice to invest in the superiority of our products and packages, retail execution, marketing, and value in all price tiers where we compete, strengthening the short- and long-term health and competitiveness of our brands," Moeller said.

These investments, along with P&G's cost-cutting initiatives, are also helping the company become more profitable as it expands. P&G's core (non-GAAP) earnings per share -- which exclude restructuring and other nonrecurring charges -- jumped 22% to $1.37. That was well above analysts' estimates for EPS of $1.24.

Better still, P&G's cash flow generation remained robust. The company produced more than $4 billion in operating cash flow during the first quarter, nearly $2 billion of which was paid out to shareholders via dividends.

A person holding out hundred dollar bills.

Procter & Gamble pays out bountiful cash dividends to its investors. Image source: Getty Images.

Based on these strong results and current sales trends, P&G boosted its fiscal 2020 full-year guidance. Management now expects organic sales growth of 3% to 5%, up from prior guidance of 3% to 4%. The company also raised its core EPS growth forecast to between 5% and 10%, up from 4% to 9%.

"We delivered strong top-line growth, profit margin expansion, and cash productivity in the first quarter, enabling us to increase our outlook for fiscal-year results," Chairman and CEO David Taylor said in a press release.

Investors cheered the news, and rightfully so. Procter & Gamble's solid sales, earnings, and cash flow growth should allow the consumer goods titan to continue to reward its investors with share repurchases and a steadily rising dividend income stream. That, in turn, should help its high-flying stock reach new all-time highs in the days and years ahead.

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool is short shares of Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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