Consumer goods makers like Procter & Gamble Co
P&G said earnings for the fiscal year that began in July could fall below analysts' expectations, while Clorox said sales for the year would be on the low end of its forecast.
The reports are the latest evidence that companies that sell even the most basic, everyday products are struggling because of broader economic worries.
Other industry players reported earnings last month. Colgate-Palmolive Co
P&G said investment in new products, including Pampers Dry Max diapers and the Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor, outpaced a 5 percent net sales increase in the fourth quarter, sending shares down 4 percent Tuesday.
P&G said it has not finished unveiling new products, including ones at lower prices.
Clearly they're not done with seeing heightened promotional or advertising spending, said Mark Astrachan, an analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus and Co. It sounds like we're going to see more innovation, but a lot of (the spending) is supporting the innovation that was launched toward the end of the June quarter.
Like most packaged goods makers, P&G has relied on new products to attract consumers who are reticent to spend when the economy is weak and jobs are scarce. Last week, the Conference Board reported that U.S. consumer confidence hit its lowest level since February.
But not all of those product introductions have gone smoothly. In recent months, the company faced a public relations battle over its new Pampers after parents claimed the diapers caused severe rashes.
P&G's earnings for the fourth quarter were 71 cents per share, below the analysts' average forecast of 73 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose 5 percent to $18.93 billion, compared with the average analyst estimate of $19.1 billion.
P&G forecast first-quarter earnings of 97 cents to $1.01 a share. Analysts expect $1.04 a share. P&G forecast full-year 2011 core EPS of $3.91 to $4.01. Analysts expect $3.98.
P&G's shares were down 3.6 percent at $59.82. Clorox's shares were about flat at $65.05.
Clorox reported earnings of $1.20 a share, which met expectations. The company reported sales up 1 percent at $1.52 billion.
Clorox said promotional spending would be higher during the next six months. Its shares rose 0.2 percent.
The maker of its namesake bleach and Glad trash bags said it expects 2011 earnings in the range of $4.50 to $4.65 a share. Analysts expect $4.58 a share.
However, it said it sees sales coming in at the low end of its previous forecast for growth of 2 percent to 4 percent.
Clorox said results in the first half of 2011 would reflect lower shipments of disinfectant products compared with last year, when the H1N1 flu pandemic resulted in sales growth.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Ben Klayman; Editing by Michele Gershberg, Tim Dobbyn and Robert MacMillan)