Procter & Gamble Earnings Recap: Will Strong Results Continue?

| About: The Procter (PG)

Procter & Gamble (PG) has made some management missteps in recent years, which have led significant underperformance compared to blue-chip peers like Kimberly-Clark (KMB), The Clorox Company (CLX), and Colgate-Palmolive (CL). These companies have grown earnings significantly faster than P&G.

CLX Earnings Per Share TTM Chart
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CLX Earnings Per Share TTM data by YCharts

As a result, P&G's stock performance has been rather depressing.

CLX Chart
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CLX data by YCharts

To deal with these problems, P&G has implemented a massive cost-cutting plan, which likely got a sharp kick in the rear when activist investor Bill Ackman announced a $1.8 billion investment in P&G.

With all that in mind, today's earnings report was mostly positive, delivering EPS of 82 cents vs a 77 cent consensus. However, P&G did offer some soft guidance:

The company offered up a softer forecast for the July-September quarter than the Street was looking for, at 91-97 cents per share versus the consensus estimate of $1.03. For the full 2013 fiscal year just underway, P&G expects earnings between $3.80 and $4.00 per share; the consensus call is right at the midpoint, $3.90.

So should investors be looking to pick up shares of P&G? Well, it doesn't look particularly cheap, but neither do its peers.

PG PE Ratio Chart
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PG PE Ratio data by YCharts

P&G certainly isn't as phenomenal a value as it was a few years ago, but according to Don Yacktman, long-term investors would do well to check it out:

Most short-term investors would probably shy away from it; long-term investors would probably look and say this is a great bargain long term and a great buying opportunity.

One of the key challenges remaining for P&G is the tricky balancing act of pricing. While higher commodity costs have been nibbling at P&G's bottom line, price increases have caused some consumer backlash and contributed to a loss in market share. Nevertheless, most analysts believe P&G's strong brands will help it continue its long-term success record.

P&G is well-known as a dividend champion, and the earnings report did reveal one more important factor: the company is reversing a previous decision to not buy back shares, initiating a $4B buyback for this fiscal year, which represents roughly 2.2% of current market cap.

Disclosure: I am long PG, CLX.