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Clorox's sparkling earnings impress Wall Street

Cleaning methods to kill coronavirus
Cleaning methods to kill coronavirus 07:09

The maker of Clorox is benefiting from the focus on keeping all manner of surfaces coronavirus-free.

The Clorox Co. on Friday reported that its third-quarter sales jumped 15% as consumers increased their purchases of bleach, wipes and other cleaning products. The company's cleaning segment, which includes its namesake disinfectant wipes, bleach and Pine-Sol, saw sales growth of 32%, said Clorox, which also hiked its 2020 earnings forecast.

The manufacturer of consumer products that also includes charcoal and cat litter reported net sales of $1.8 billion for the three-month period ending March 31, up from $1.5 billion for the year-ago quarter. Net earnings jumped to $241 million, from $187 million a year earlier. Clorox projects full-year sales to climb between 4% and 6%.

Clorox shares, which trade on the Nasdaq, are up 27% this year even as the stock index has fallen 4%.

Investors embraced the results, with Clorox shares rising nearly 6% to $197 even as the broader stock market fell. The strong results reflects "the heightened importance of disinfecting products in consumers' lives," Clorox CEO Benno Dorer said in a statement. "We're optimistic about our ability to continue to perform well even in what's expected to be a challenging economic environment."

The surging demand for cleaning products reflected in the company's sales is also visible in other data. Nielsen found that sales of multi-purpose cleaners for the four-week period ending April 4 are up 141% from the same period last year. 

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