Emerging markets lift Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark

Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:23pm EST
 
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By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N: Quote) and Kimberly-Clark Corp (KMB.N: Quote), two of the world's biggest household products makers, forecast strong sales gains in emerging markets, quelling investor fears that slowing growth in some countries would hurt their prospects.

P&G, the maker of Pampers diapers and Tide detergent, said on Friday that revenue rose 8 percent in developing countries in its fiscal second quarter, but barely edged up in mature markets like the United States and Europe. It stuck to its 2014 sales and profit forecasts.

Kimberly-Clark reported similar gains in emerging markets, helped by strong growth in China, and gave an upbeat 2014 forecast.

Earlier this weak, rival Unilever (ULVR.L: Quote)(UNc.AS: Quote) said it would stick to its developing markets growth strategy as it reported 2013 results were boosted by a fourth-quarter recovery in sales in the segment.

P&G shares were up 2.8 percent to $80.41 in early-afternoon trading, while Kimberly-Clark was up 2.7 percent to $108.25. The broader market was sharply lower. .N

"The emerging markets have become increasingly volatile," said Ali Dibadj, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "People say emerging markets have slowed, but they're still doing well."

Executives at both companies said they were concerned about currencies in both Argentina and Venezuela in conference calls with analysts.

The Argentina peso's official rate has fallen 20 percent against the U.S. dollar so far this month, pressuring inflation even higher as confidence falls in the country, Latin America's No. 3 economy.   Continued...

 
Pampers diapers, a product distributed by Procter & Gamble, is pictured on sale at a Ralphs grocery store in Pasadena, California January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni