Clorox Earnings Were So Bad the Stock Is Dropping the Most in More Than 20 Years

A bottle of Clorox bleach in Culver City, California

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Clorox stock was tumbling after the company’s earnings fell far short of analyst expectations.

Clorox reported a fiscal fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 95 cents a share, missing analyst forecasts for $1.36 a share, on sales of $1.8 billion, below expectations for $1.92 billion. But Clorox didn’t stop there. It said it would earn between $540 and $5.70 in fiscal 2022, well below analyst forecasts for $7.67. Clorox blamed higher commodity prices and other rising costs for the big miss, as well as “volatility.”

“Fiscal year 2021 was an extraordinary year for Clorox, with the pandemic putting us through the test of volatility, including rapid changes in consumer demand and inflationary pressure, which is reflected in our fourth quarter results,” said CEO Linda Rendle. “It reinforced the strength of our global portfolio, which has never been more relevant to consumers.”

Investors apparently disagree with that assessment. Clorox stock was down 12% to $159.74 in early Tuesday trading, while the S&P 500 was off 0.2%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dipped 0.1% Clorox is on pace for its largest percentage drop since Aug. 12, 1999, when it slumped 16%.

Still, Clorox’s miss shouldn’t come as a surprise. Unilever (UL) and Lysol maker Reckitt Benckiser (RBGLY) also talked about rising costs in their earnings reports.

Still, few stocks have had the kind of ride Clorox has had. It was an early Covid-19 darling, gaining more than 50% from the beginning of February through early August. It’s been all downhill since then, however, with the shares having fallen 22% through Monday’s close—with more still to come.

Write to Ben Levisohn at ben.levisohn@barrons.com

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