Procter & Gamble said core earnings for the three months ending in March came in at $1.06 per share, up 6% from the same period last year and 2 cents ahead of the consensus forecast. Group sales, the company said, rose 1.22% to $16.5 billion and topped the Street forecast of $16.37 billion. Organic sales rose 5% from last year, the company said, but it also noted that its core operating margin shrank to 19.9%.
Looking into 2019, P&G said it sees organic sales growth of around 4% this year, up from a prior forecast of between 2% and 4%, and "all-in" sales growth of around 1%. The Dow component also said it plans to pay over $7 billion in dividends this year and repurchase around $5 billion in shares.
"We delivered another quarter of strong organic sales growth, enabling us to further increase our outlook for the year," said CEO David Taylor. "Cash generation also remains strong, supporting an increase in our cash productivity target and extending our long track record of dividend increases. Our focus on superiority, productivity and improving P&G's organization and culture is delivering improved results despite a challenging competitive and macroeconomic environment."
Procter & Gamble shares were marked 2.2% lower following the earnings release to change hands at $103.58 each, a move that trims the stock's year-to-date gain to around 13.5%.