Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Signs of International Strength Helping the US

Whirlpool's earnings announcement:

Whirlpool Corp. shares jumped as much as 17% to a record high on Tuesday after the appliance giant said last year's Maytag acquisition along with strong international demand boosted first-quarter revenue.


"As expected, higher material costs and significantly lower demand in the U.S. negatively impacted our first-quarter results," said Chairman and CEO Jeff Fettig in a statement. "The global environment is progressing as planned and we continue to expect lower industry demand in the U.S. through the first half of 2007 with gradual improvement during the balance of the year."

From Kimberly Clark's earnings report:

Kimberly-Clark Corp. reported Monday a 64% increase in first-quarter profit, helped by cost cutting and strength in emerging markets, and affirmed its financial forecast for the year.


In Europe, personal-care sales rose more than 12%, with currency effects accounting for the entire increase. Sales volumes were up 1%, as strong gains for diapers were mostly offset by lower sales volumes in other areas. Net selling prices were down about 1%.

Huggies Newborn and Natural Fit diapers and Huggies Little Walkers diaper pants drove a 9% volume growth for Huggies diapers in core European markets of the U.K., France, Italy and Spain. In developing and emerging markets, personal-care sales climbed about 16%.

Sales growth was particularly strong across Latin America, as well as in China and Russia, the company said.

These results indicate that foreign sales may help to cushion corporate profits as the US economy slows.