Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

said earnings rose 8% for the fourth quarter, and the maker of household products reaffirmed its guidance for fiscal 2004.

The company said Tuesday that it earned $149 million, or 68 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with $145 million, or 63 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. For the full year, Clorox earned $493 million, or $2.23 a share, compared with last year's $322 million, or $1.37 a share.

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The results were in line with Wall Street's expectations, according to a Thomson First Call poll.

Fourth-quarter sales increased 2% to $1.2 billion, driven by record shipments of Glad trash bags and Hidden Valley and K C Masterpiece food products, while cost savings and increased volume drove a gross margin gain of 73 basis points.

During the quarter, Clorox repurchased 3.5 million common shares for $152 million. The company has bought 18.2 million shares at a total cost of $773 million under its buyback program.

Going forward, Clorox still expects to earn $2.47 to $2.57 a share in 2004. Analysts are looking for a profit of $2.50 a share.

The company's shares were recently up 85 cents, or 2%, to $43.67.