"Solid organic growth momentum through 2H11 should carry into 2012 and the year is off to a good start," Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a Feb. 24 report. "Sales should be driven by a combination of strong premium-priced innovation and advertising support (should grow more than sales in 2012). Half of 2012 pricing is a rollover from 2011. Management maintains a strong focus on cost control through its Funding the Growth ROI-focused program. Investors should see sequential gross margin improvement through the year. This should collectively drive currency-neutral double-digit EPS growth."
Shares of Colgate-Palmolive hit a 52-week high Friday of $97.56. The stock's 52-week low of $78.62 was set on Aug. 9.Colgate-Palmolive has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 16.53 times; the average for personal products companies is 15.54. For comparison, both Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Avon (AVP) have lower forward P/Es of 13.49 and 11.35, respectively. Sixteen of the 25 analysts who cover Colgate-Palmolive rated it hold. Seven analysts gave the stock a buy rating and two rated it sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Colgate-Palmolive an A grade with a buy rating and a $115.06 price target. The stock has risen 5.34% year to date.
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