) reported earnings Thursday that were slightly better than
expected, but the stock was having trouble deciding what it
wanted to do.
It dropped 1% near the open, reversed to a 2% gain and ended
the day little changed -- at 90.19, up 0.05. Clorox hit an
all-time high in morning trade as the stock broke out of a
No matter. Clorox isn't the kind of stock where shareholders
fret intraday moves as if it were a fast-moving Internet or
biotech name. Investors tend to hold for the long term and for
The company is a century old this year. It almost foundered
until Annie Murray, an early shareholder, began giving away
samples of bleach in her Oakland, Calif., grocery store.
Clorox is one of the ultimate defensive stocks. If the economy
turns south, consumers may forgo another Michael Kors handbag,
but they're going to keep buying the wide variety of household
products Clorox produces, which include cleaning products, bags,
wraps and containers, cat litter, sauces and personal care
Clorox is a slow but steady grower. Its five-year growth rate
is just 3%, but its Earnings Stability Factor is 4 on a 0 to 99
scale, where low numbers correspond to steady growth.
It also has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B+,
suggesting institutional buying.
Hence, the stock offers some chance of capital appreciation
along with a growing dividend. It has a Relative Price Strength
Rating of 54, which means it has slightly outperformed the
S&P 500 over the past year.
The company boasts that it has grown the dividend each year
since 1977. The quarterly dividend was 40 cents a share in the
2008 fiscal year ended in June and now is 71 cents. That
translates to an annualized yield of 3.1%.
The earnings reported Thursday show EPS growth was 3% for the
quarter while revenue grew 2%. Analysts are expecting 8% growth
in 2014 and 7% in 2015.