Kimberly-Clark shares rise after COVID-19 stockpiling drives earnings beat

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Kimberly-Clark Corp. KMB, +2.46% shares rose 1.1% in Wednesday premarket trading after the Kleenex parent reported first-quarter earnings and sales that exceeded expectations. Net income totaled $660 million, or $1.92 per share, up from $454 million, or $1.31 per share, last year. Adjusted EPS of $2.13 was well ahead of the $1.98 FactSet consensus. Revenue totaled $5.01 billion, up from $4.63 billion last year and ahead of the $4.86 billion FactSet outlook. Kimberly-Clark benefited from stockpiling consumer behavior amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Sales in the personal care segment rose 6% to $2.4 billion, and sales in the consumer tissue business soared 13% to $1.7 billion. In addition to Kleenex, Kimberly-Clark brands include Cottonelle and Scott. The company has withdrawn its 2020 guidance due to uncertainty from the pandemic, and it has suspended its share repurchase program until at least the end of the second quarter. Kimberly-Clark has extended its restructuring program until the end of 2021 due to COVID-19, at which point the company expects total charges on the high end of $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion range. Kimberly-Clark stock has rallied 7.1% over the past year while the S&P 500 index SPX, 2.29% is down nearly 6%.

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