Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, announced earnings on April 25 that met its third-quarter target, revised last month, but investors still sent the stock down 8.78% to $64.31 in midday trading. P&G reported net earnings of $753 million for the quarter ended March 31, down 11% on a per-share basis from the year-earlier period. P&G blamed the cost of new initiatives such as the launch of Physique haircare products and Mr. Clean Wipe-Ups for much of the decline, and said costs of new initiatives would continue to hurt earnings in the current quarter. P&G's fabric and homecare business, which has launched such brands as Dryel, Swiffer and Mr. Clean Wipe-Ups in the past year, reported a sales increase of 7% but an earnings decrease of 26% for the third quarter. A bright spot for P&G, however, was beauty care, which reported a 7% sales increase and a 13% earnings increase. Overall, P&G's revenue was up 6% to $9.78 billion. Separately, Dial Corp. on April 25 announced its intent to acquire P&G's Coast soap brand.
Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.