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Clorox Cleans Up With Better-Than-Expected Earnings

Clorox posts better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings as it continues to turn around its household products offerings, particularly bags and charcoal.

Clorox  (CLX)  on Tuesday reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts as it continued to orchestrate a turnaround in its previously suffering household products segment, specifically sales of bags and wraps and charcoal.

The Oakland, Calif.-based company said it earned $185 million, or $1.46 a share, vs. $182 million, or $1.40 a share, in the same period a year ago. The results exceeded the $1.31 a share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Sales came in at $1.5 billion, above last year’s $1.47 billion and ahead of the $1.4 billion consensus estimate expected by analysts.

Clorox Q4 Earnings

Another drop in household goods sales, including bags and wraps, charcoal, cat litter and digestive health items, as well as declines in its cleaning-products unit were partially offset by gains in lifestyle offerings, including dressings and sauces, water filtration products and dietary supplements. Sales of face and lip care products also helped bolster lifestyle product sales, the company said.

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"I feel good about the progress we're making, which is reflected in our second-quarter results, particularly the fifth consecutive quarter of gross margin expansion and sequential improvement in organic sales," CEO Benno Dorer said in a statement. "We have confidence we're taking the right steps as we expect to return to growth in the back half of the fiscal year behind strong investments in our robust innovation plans to support distribution.

For 2020, Clorox revised its per-share earnings expectations to be in the range of $6.10 to $6.25 a share, 5 cents higher at the low end of the range than it previously provided, with a flat-to-2%-increase in sales. Gross margin is now expected to be up slightly, mainly reflecting lower input costs, the company said.

Not mentioned in Clorox's press release was the coronavirus, and whether a bump in demand for disinfectant wipes and other Clorox-made cleaning products could help bolster sales in its cleaning-products division.  

Shares of Clorox were up 3.63% at $161.49 in morning trading on Tuesday.

Clorox is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts Plus portfolio. Want to know when Jim is buying or selling CLX? Click here for more.