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The Procter & Gamble Company (PG): What To Do, What To Do?

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The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG)Shares of The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) tumbled almost 6% after the company released its Q4 2013 numbers. Investors haven’t seen such a fall on this counter for a long, long time. What is even more surprising is that the results were not all that bad except for the fact that the earnings surprise this quarter was much less than what the market is accustomed to. If you ask me, the April 24, 2013 fall in price of the stock is also not that bad if you look at it from a different perspective.

Since the fall is apparently a reaction to the company’s Q3 figures, let us have a brief look at them.

Third quarter 2013 earnings

Income for the January to March 2013 quarter rose 6% – to $2.57 billion or $0.88 per share from $2.41 billion or $0.82 per share reported in the same quarter in 2012. This could have been better but for the restructuring charge due to the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency. If we do not take than into account, the EPS calculates at $0.99, whereas analysts were expected $0.96. Revenue was up only 2% at $20.60 billion against expectations of $20.72 billion.

Nevertheless, when we see the nine months of fiscal 2013, the picture is much more assuring. Operating income for the nine months ended March 31, 2013 rose 16% and net earnings by 32% as compared to the nine months of fiscal 2012. However, The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) has underperformed if we compare it with its closest competitor, Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB).

Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB) reported total revenue of $5.32 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2013. Although revenue was up only 1.5% from the same quarter prior year, the company’s net income rose by more than 13% –$531 million or $1.37 per share, beating market expectation by 14 cents a share. Following strong earnings, the company’s share price hit an all time high of $106.54.

Another consumer goods sector company, The Clorox Company (NYSE:CLX) just missed the market estimate of $1.06 per share when it released its figures for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. On revenues of $1.41 billion, the company posted a net income of $133 million or $1.01 per share

The different perspective

This is the perspective of a long term investor.

Underperformance as compared to competitors and a smaller earnings surprise worked as a trigger and gave traders a reason to pull the stock down. It is also being speculated that Bill Ackman, a hedge fund manager with 1% stake in P&G, could start a proxy fight before the company’s annual general meeting this fall for replacing the current CEO.

P&G has a long history of dividend payouts and a dividend payout ratio of 54.31%, meaning that it distributes that much out of its earnings to shareholders. Buying at such dips in stock price of dividend paying companies will eventually increase the average dividend yield that a long term investor, more so in the case of P&G considering that the company has been increasing dividend every year.

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