Shares of The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) rose more than 6% in early trading on Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected financial results. Revenue rose 0.2% to $17.44 billion, beating consensus estimates by $280 million, while GAAP earnings per share reached $1.22, beating consensus estimates by two cents per share.
The market had been bracing for worse-than-expected earnings after Kimberly-Clark Corporation's (KMB) lackluster results. Procter & Gamble reported higher sales growth and better operating margins than its competitor, which was a major catalyst sending shares higher. Investors will be keeping a close eye on Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL), Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (CHD) and The Clorox Company (CLX) for further insights into where the industry is headed over the coming quarter.
In addition to the strong earnings report, Procter & Gamble announced that it expects to pay over $7 billion in dividends and repurchase up to $5 billion worth of shares.
From a technical standpoint, the stock briefly hit prior highs and R1 resistance at $96.20 before giving up ground by mid-day following the bullish earnings report. The relative strength index (RSI) rose toward overbought levels with a reading of 60.94, but the moving average convergence divergence (MACD) experienced the start of a bullish crossover. These indicators suggest that the stock has room to move higher before experiencing some consolidation.
Traders should watch for a breakout from prior highs and R1 resistance toward R2 resistance at $101.21 over the coming sessions. If the stock fails to break out, there could be some consolidation between R1 resistance and the 50-day moving average at $91.67 before a renewed attempt higher. If the stock breaks down from support at around $90.00, it could move to S1 support at $86.13, but that scenario seems less likely to occur given the strong earnings report.
The author holds no position in the stock(s) mentioned except through passively managed funds.